Social Media “Inspired” Burns

Dr Samantha Lee1, Prof Suzanne Rea

1Child and Adolescent Health Service , Perth, Australia


With the advent of social media, online dissemination of exhibitionist videos has gained increasing popularity (Avery et al. 2016). Social restrictions due to COVID-19 have also led people to spend more and more time on social networks (Logrieco et al. 2021). A popular social media platform is Tik Tok, with more than 800 million users; of which, at least 20% are teenagers (Logrieco et al. 2021). The lure of a challenge or “viral trend” may entice people to mimic potentially dangerous behaviours (Avery et al. 2016). We present a case series of burns following attempts at replicating such behaviours.

At our paediatric institution, a series of patients have been treated for burns after mimicking the actions seen on various Tik Tok videos. With Tik Tok’s increasing popularity, this study raises concerns about the potential consequences of it’s influence on adolescent behaviours. Our series undoubtably, only reflects a small portion of actual participants.

It is paramount to understand how these platforms are utilised by our adolescent patients, so that preventative and public safety measures can be developed. Prevention of social media “inspired” burns will require further study and collaboration with social media platforms, which may provide new opportunities for education and communication on a large-scale basis (Avery et al. 2016).

1. Avery, AH, Rae, L, Summitt, JB, Kahn, SA, 2016, The Fire Challenge: A Case Report and Analysis of Self-Inflicted Flame Injury Posted on Social Media, J. Burn Care Res, vol 37, no. 2.
2. Logrieco, G, Marchili, MR, Roversi, M, Villani, A 2021, The Paradox of Tik Tok Anti-Pro-Anorexia Videos: How Social Media Can Promote Non-Suicidal Self-Injury and Anorexia, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, vol 18, 1041.


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