School warned against viral ‘skull breaker’ challenge
One of Adelaide's biggest public schools has issued a warning against a dangerous online craze known as skullbreaker.
Also called the "tripping jump challenge", which reportedly first emerged in South America on the TikTok video app, it involves two students convincing a third to stand in a row with them and jump at the same time. But the two on the outside don't jump, and instead kick their victim's legs from behind so that they flip and land on their back and head.
Mark Oliphant College head of middle years Jacky Smith reposted an article about skullbreaker on the school's Facebook page, adding her own warning.
"Make sure you are having the important conversations with your children about these apps and crazes," she wrote.
"Criminal charges, serious injuries and even death has resulted in some instances.
"Please contact a member of the middle years leadership team if you know your child is engaging in dangerous online behaviours. We can support you in helping them to make smarter choices."
There have been numerous news reports from the US, South America and Europe about serious injuries from skullbreaker, and claims that a girl, 16, died in Brazil. In one case in the US, police charged two boys.
Mark Oliphant College did not answer The Advertiser's question about whether it was aware of students taking part in the skullbreaker or other dangerous "challenges".
But Ms Smith said: "We believe it's important to keep parents informed about new trends and the possible dangers of social media.
"A partnership approach involving both the school and parents is really important. We address safe internet use at school but it's much more effective if parents reinforce that with good information at home."
Ironically, the online virality of skullbreaker is partly because of warnings from parents, schools, police and doctors around the world. Doctors have warned of the likelihood of head, neck and back injuries.
TikTok's community guide lines, updated last month, say the app does not promote dangerous activities.
"Risky activities or other dangerous behaviour ... may lead to serious injury or death for the user or the public. We do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies such behaviour, including amateur stunts or dangerous challenges." The app allows users to report inappropriate content. The SA Education Department was not aware of any incidents in public schools.