(Photo by Erin Scheske).
TikTok, a social media app that has risen in popularity since 2017 with 1 billion active users (although many are bot accounts), has started a tremendous number of “trends” in the past few years. From dance videos to book reviews, TikTok is an app where anyone can find a video about anything. Users can view these trends on their “for you” page, which is a collection of videos catered to each individual person and their preferences. TikTok knows each user’s preferences based on videos he/she has liked or shared. There have been hundreds of trends since the app became popular, but a recent trend, nicknamed Devious Licks, has many educators saying students are going too far.
Now the name itself is a little off-putting. No one is licking anything, but devious fits the action. The trend is essentially to steal things off the wall or desks at school. For example, students have stolen soap dispensers, pencil sharpeners and other various items. In some cases, students are also vandalizing school property. This trend has made its way to Milford High School.
In only the second week of school, Milford has seen the disappearance of all sorts of utilities from toilet seats to staplers. Milford’s administration has tried to combat this problem by punishing students with suspensions and threatening criminal charges against those who vandalize or steal from the school.
Assistant Principal Elizabeth Suminski spoke on the matter. She estimates that the amount of damage committed to the school added up to around $5,000 by early September. This comes from all the items stolen, paint jobs ruined, and the total amount of extra man-hours needed to clean up these messes.
This is saddening news to hear as these materials are paid for by grants or by tax dollars. Suminski said if this behavior keeps happening, students are going to lose privileges.
“This building should be a point of pride,” said Suminski. “We do not want Milford High School making headlines for issues like this.”
Many students also are angered that their peers are damaging the school.
Maddie Melody, a Senior Student Council member, said, “I think this trend is very obnoxious. It is disrespectful and ruins the opportunity of having a nice school for everyone.”
This trend is causing major problems in other parts of the country as well. In other districts, whole toilets and sinks have been moved to different parts of the school, as well as outside the school.
Many principals, students, and parents have emailed the CEO of TikTok about this trend. TikTok has taken action to stop the spread of it. When users search for Devious Licks or #deviouslicks in the search bar, the following message appears: “This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines. Promoting a safe and positive experience is TikTok’s top priority.”
Although TikTok has prevented the spread of this trend, it is up to the people of TikTok to end it. If the Devious Lick trend follows the timeline of most other TikTok trends, it will be over before October, if not sooner.