WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Parents are being notified of a dangerous challenge trending in TikTok where teens start fires using coins and Phone chargers.
- Teens videoing themselves participating in the so-called ‘Outlet Challenge’ are seen inserting a coin toward the exposed prongs of an iPhone charger while connected to an outlet.
- This, according to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, is very dangerous because it can trigger sparks leading to burns and fires.
Authorities in Massachusetts are warning parents of a worrying viral trend that teenagers have been taking part in that has reportedly started fires in the region.
Dubbed as the ‘Outlet Challenge’ the new and dangerous challenge that is shown in the video involves sliding a coin towards the exposed prongs of an iPhone charger while being partially plugged into an electrical outlet. When the coin hits the metal prongs, sparks are created from the sockets.
Fire experts say that putting any metal objects in or near electrical sockets is extremely stupid and dangerous because this could result in serious injuries or even fires.
According to TV station WHDH, Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey issued an advisory on Tuesday alerting parents of the new challenge which is said to have come from the platform-sharing platform TikTok. The trend has been said to have started incidents of fire in the US.
Ostroskey also confirmed that there two fires that had been recorded in Massachusetts by people attempting this challenge.
One occurred in a home in Holden where a worried mother sent a photo of a burnt outlet to the State Fire Marshal, and the second at Westford Academy involving some students whom Ostroskey said are expected to face charges for starting a fire at the school.
In reference to past dangerous viral challenges including the Fire Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge, and the Tide Pod Challenge, Ostroskey stressed that the video is a cause for concern because it encourages unsafe behaviors such as unsafe use of electricity and fire.
The Holden Fire Department (HFD) and Canton Fire Department (CFD) also issued similar advisories about the challenge.
“Participating in any of these viral trends or challenges can be dangerous and have serious repercussions,” said CFD Chief Charles E. Doody. To prevent further incidents, their advisory advised parents to be aware of this trend so they can teach their children about fire and electrical safety.
The HFD also reminded parents to apply fire safety measures in their homes such as installing tamper-resistant electrical outlets for young kids, replacing damaged outlets and avoiding overloading outlets.
A TikTok spokesperson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.