ARIZONA, USA — Another TikTok challenge is circulating among students, and this time the Mesa Police Department said anyone who participates could be charged with aggravated assault, which is a felony.
The department said on Twitter Tuesday, "October's TikTok challenge will not be tolerated."
In a blog post also shared Tuesday, Mesa police went on to say the department was recently made aware of upcoming monthly "TikTok School Challenges," and the challenge to "'Smack a staff member on the backside' was very concerning."
Students as young as 15 years old have been arrested and charged in states including Arizona, Kentucky, Florida and Alabama for offenses surrounding the social media frenzy challenges, according to USA Today.
"Simply put, if someone knowingly assaults a teacher or other person employed by any school while they are performing their official duties, they just committed an aggravated assault," Mesa Police Department's blog says. "And yes, a smack on the back side would be considered an aggravated assault that would be investigated by the Mesa Police Department."
Social media trends, outages and effects
Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist, told Congress on Tuesday that the social network giant’s products harm children and fuel polarization in the U.S. while its executives refuse to change because they elevate profits over safety.
On Monday, a six-hour outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp occurred causing Mark Zuckerberg to lose approximately $7 billion in net worth after a selloff the same day sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting 4.9%, according to Bloomberg.
Recent studies released also show Instagram can have a negative impact on mental health, leading to body dysmorphia, body image and more for teenagers, according to USA TODAY.
Other recent TikTok challenges suggest actions such as showing one's genitals, inappropriately touching breasts and vandalism.
Mesa police advised parents to take time to speak with their children to discuss the importance of responsible social media use and the ramifications that come with posting and behaving illegally or inappropriately.
A spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department said they were not aware of any incidents involving the challenge, but said the department "strongly condemns any trend that encourages violence, especially in a place of education.
"We would like to remind people that assaulting a teacher or school employee in Arizona is a felony. The Phoenix Police Department encourages people to choose wisely and not engage in social media trends like this."
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