New TikTok "Headphone Challenge" Is Both Dangerous and Alarming

TikTok's "headphone challenge" is a dangerous new trend enforcing some seriously negative stereotypes to those who participate in it.

Chris Barilla - Author

Feb. 9 2021, Published 11:20 a.m. ET

The "headphone challenge" in action.
Source: TikTok

One of the newest and most alarming trends to hit the video-sharing app TikTok is the "headphone challenge," where users attempt to wrap their wired headphones around their midsection to see if and how many times the circle can be completed.

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However, this challenge is promoting negative body images and indirectly encouraging participants to try to lose weight. So, what exactly is the challenge, where did it get started, and what's being done about it currently? Here's what we know about the latest viral activity to take TikTok by storm.

Source: Weibo
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TikTok's headphone challenge seemingly started in China.

According to The Sun, the "headphone challenge" first took hold amongst Chinese users of the social media app Weibo that is popular in the Asian nation, where countless women attempted to get the totality of their headphone cords around their stomachs.

Videos began flooding the site and going viral that showed women with minuscule waists wrapping the headphones sometimes not just once but twice around their midsection, attempting to showcase how thin they are.

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Not long after, the trend took hold on TikTok, and soon youngsters from across the globe were posting their own videos of the "headphone challenge," furthering this potentially dangerous negative stereotype on an even larger scale.

Source: Instagram
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The challenge directly targets those who aren't "thin enough."

With body image and self-confidence issues a constant talking point in the world of social media, the rise of a trend that seems to mock said consciousness seemed inevitable. Beyond just that, the effects of its widespread appeal have and still can be ridiculously detrimental to many who take their inability to participate too much to heart.

One particular influencer, Danae Mercer, has decided that enough is enough with the "headphone challenge," and she opted to speak out against it. She candidly referenced her own struggles with eating disorders and pleaded with fans to not participate in the challenge if prompted to do so.

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"Above all else, I want to keep this platform a really happy place. A safe spot in a world that's pretty heavy. But when I see 8-year-olds talking about their diets, and 13-year-olds sharing their BMIs, when I see 16-year-old males talking about choking and spitting, and little children wrapping iPhone cables around their waists to check their size, I have to talk," Danae wrote to fans on Instagram.

The personal health guru, who has more than 2 million followers on the app, is known for her candid takes on inclusivity and promoting a healthy self-image. Because of that, her interjection on an issue such as the "headphone challenge" is to be expected, and surely helpful thanks to her massive following.

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