Devious Licks Digitally Spark Destruction

Kaylee Ortega, Staff Writer

   Whether it’s stolen masks, soap dispensers, or clogged toilets, the destruction caused by the Devious Lick challenge is one of the most recent crazes to sweep the internet.

   The trend began on Sept. 1 after a TikTok user posted a video of disposable masks that they supposedly stole from their school with the caption, “A month into school absolutely devious lick. Should’ve brought a mask from home.”

   This sparked the creation of others with similar captions, though the items being stolen began to increase in value.

   “It’s unsurprising, and it’s rather remarkable at the same time,” Upper School Assistant Dean Steven Garnett said. “I’m in awe of it, so that all of a sudden this could pick up from stealing masks to becoming vandalism. Maybe it is just indicative of the way our nation seems to be in a rush to take something innately good like media [and change its entire purpose].”

   Five days after the original devious lick video was posted, another user posted a video with the on-screen text reading, “only a month into school and got this absolute devious lick,” while pulling a soap dispenser out of their school bag. 

   This video surpassed 7.2 million views in two days, more than 30 times the 239,000 views that the original video gained in one week. 

   “It doesn’t serve any benefit other than a person’s dopamine hits,” Middle School Dean Jeff Wilson said. “It amounts in very little tangible benefits in the real world, how you feel about your likes on TikTok is of very little value in the long run.”

   When added to the expectation that these actions could go viral, the desire for fame is arguably one of the main causes sparking this trend, as well as its predecessors.

   Though more harmful trends such as the ice-cream, salt and ice, or bird-box challenge reveal the downside of social media influence, trends meant to be harmless, such Angelic Yields, result in the same issues.  

   “These things happen so quickly now,” Wilson said. “I assume one thing caught on social media and then someone escalated it, and pretty soon we have a destructive game rather than a harmless prank.” 

   A TikTok spokesperson addressed the ban of the Devious Lick hashtag in a tweet,“We expect our community to create responsibly – online and IRL. We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers.”

   Despite the ban, both the Devious Lick and Angelic Yield trends continue to affect schools throughout the nation.

   “Anything that disrupts the normal flow of the day and requires people who don’t normally have to respond, clean up after, or make adjustments because somebody decided it would be funny for social media, are generally not good for the school,” Wilson said. “It’s inefficient and takes people away from their work, especially if it’s a nonsensical replacement.”