Bomb threat pranks: what could go wrong?

Ridiculous video “challenges” have been around for years, mostly on Instagram and YouTube. Remember people eating detergent pods and poisoning themselves? And choking to death trying to swallow mouthfuls of cinnamon? And licking public surfaces to get COVID? And pouring boiling water on sleeping friends? And “surfing” on top of moving cars? Good times! For idiots, I mean.

The young ‘uns on TikTok have taken it to a whole new level: scheduling challenges in advance. I guess if you’re gonna spend hours and hours on the app every day, you might as well organize your activities… There are various “challenge calendars” floating around, some of which are innocent (10pm: lip synching! 11am: use a trending hashtag!) while others are just plain stupid and dangerous (October: smack a staff member on the ass! January: jab a breast!). It’s all just so eye-rollingly tiresome for those of us who don’t make TikTok the center of our lives. Personally I find TikTok to be super irritating to use, but maybe I’ll do a longer old-man rant on that later…

So now we have the “call in a bomb threat to your school” TikTok challenge. Sigh. Apparently it started as “December 17: skip school!” and morphed into something much worse. Is it just a prank? Probably. Are some kids dumb enough to do it? Absolutely.

Schools step up security in response to threats on TikTok

Educators announced plans to increase security in response to TikTok posts warning of shooting and bomb threats at schools around the country Friday as officials assured parents the viral posts were not considered credible.

…School officials in states including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York and Pennsylvania said Thursday there would be an increased police presence because of the threats. The vague, anonymous posts circulating online warned that multiple schools would receive shooting and bomb threats.

This was probably the logical evolution of this stuff. True, any resulting threats likely weren’t credible, but it still caused some schools to shut down just in case. I don’t blame them — we’ve got kids running around shooting up their schools, after all, so why take any chances?

My question now is: if anyone did call in a bomb threat, did they post it to TikTok? We’ll have to see. The whole point of these moronic challenges is for kids to record themselves doing them. That way they can get all those “likes” and comments of praise that are so addictive (hooray for dopamine hits). So if you do this and don’t post it publicly, I guess you’re just anonymously breaking the law for no reason. Wow. So awesome and stuff.

Sigh… I guess this is our dumb new reality. And I’ll keep saying it: we humans, especially kids, are probably not ready for the kind of interconnectivity that social media gives us.

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