'Devious Licks': Latest TikTok trend targets school bathrooms in Regina
From stolen urinal attempts to missing soap dispensers, washrooms in Regina schools have become the target of the latest TikTok challenge.
Known as the “devious licks” challenge, the viral trend has high school students vandalizing school property and uploading video evidence to the social media platform.
“I guess they find it funny, but in reality it’s costing the school a lot of money,” said Charlie Krescy, a Grade 11 student at Campbell Collegiate.
“They’ve closed down a lot of the bathrooms. There was a full day where there was only one bathroom open for both boys and girls washrooms.”
According to Krescy, Campbell students first saw the TikTok challenge at their school a couple weeks ago. Since then, she estimates there have been at least 10 incidents.
“I’m surprised how many people have done it and how fast it came to the school,” said Pano Beckar, a Grade 10 student at Campbell Collegiate.
“We can’t go through one class without the teacher going on the P.A. system and telling us to stop.”
In a statement, Regina Public Schools spokesperson Terry Lazarou said the division is aware of the social media challenge.
“There have been several cases of students engaging in these activities. Schools are dealing with them on a localized basis,” the statement read.
According to the Regina Police Service (RPS), a couple of “minor” incidents in school washrooms were reported to school resource officers last week.
RPS spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich said those cases are under investigation. No charges have been laid.
It’s possible the incidents are related to the TikTok challenge, but police do not know for certain, she said.
Despite the potential consequences of being charged with mischief, students across North America continue to participate in the trend.
“People learn from their peers and they’re pressured by their peers,” said Alec Couros, an educational technology and media professor at the University of Regina.
“Once we consider social media, we have to see that this pressure comes not just from a small peer group at school, but it comes from around the world.”
Urban Dictionary defines devious licks as a “successful type of theft which results in an acceptable, impressive and rewarding payday for the protagonist.”
According to Couros, the reward is social media recognition, not the value of what’s being taken from the school bathroom.
“The value comes from the impressive act,” he said.
“If it’s impressive to other kids, it makes you look like a rebel, like you’ve done something that goes against the system.”
The challenge is not very different from kids stealing signs or damaging property 20 or 30 years ago, Couros said.
However, he said, social media makes these dares more detrimental to students' digital identity.
“It might be some simple, trivial thing, but you can be remembered for it for the rest of your life,” Couros said.
“It will be there when you’re applying for jobs or when you’re going to university.”
As a parent, Couros said he’s concerned about the social media pressures that his kids could face. He said communication is key for all parents to understand what pressures their kids are under and how new trends could impact their safety.