Teen Social Media “Challenge” Ignites Concern

Viral Video Screencap

  HOWELL – Members of the Howell Township Fire Bureau are concerned over a new viral video that is involving teenagers.

  The Bureau has issued a warning to parents of teens concerning about the video, which may result in fire incidents and cause serious injury.

  While the Bureau of Fire Prevention has received no reported incidents within the township so far, the agency has been made aware of incidents across the country.

  The video concerns a “challenge” seen on the popular video app, TikTok. It involves using the plug part of a phone charger, partially inserting it into the wall outlet, and then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs. The result is sparks, electrical system damage, and in some cases, fire.


  These videos are a concern and similar to past viral videos that encourage unsafe behavior. The Bureau is alerting parents of this challenge, and advises them not only to look for signs of fire play like scorched outlets but to have conversations about fire and electrical safety with tweens and teenagers.

  The Bureau released the following electrical fire safety tips:

  • Insert plugs fully into sockets
  • If you have young children, install tamper-resistant electrical outlets
  • Replace wall outlets if plugs do not fit tightly, or show signs of damage
  • Do not overload outlets
  • Never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet

  In addition to electrical fire safety, the Bureau of Fire Prevention would like to remind parents and children to discuss the dangers of particular online “challenges” and recognizing the dangerous activity on the internet.