What’s going on with the TikTok stealing challenge? Inside the problematic new trend

As if school wasn't crazy enough this year, the TikTok stealing challenge has swooped in for more chaos

Empty school corridor
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Leave it to high schoolers to cause chaos: the TikTok stealing challenge is sweeping through feeds and leaving classrooms, gyms and restrooms empty in the process. So what exactly do these pranksters have up their sleeves? The problematic new social media trend is bound to inspire a few detentions in the near future, that's for sure. 

Most platform users are on a quest for dance moves and TikTok hacks, but others use the video sharing phenomenon as an opportunity to be mischievous. As if there isn't enough to worry about as students return to the classrooms this year, now teachers and school staffers are going to have to figure out where their missing microscopes and fire extinguishers have disappeared to.

TikTok stealing challenge: what is going on?

As the name suggests, it is an attempt to steal school property, be it toiletries in the bathroom or tools in the science lab. According to Newsweek, the ridiculous phenomenon began with @jugg4elias snagging a box of disposable face masks, items that are very much needed as we continue to find a new norm throughout the Covid-19 pandemic—something @jugg4elias really should have considered. 

And, per usual, this new trend also inspired some new vocabulary amongst platform users. "A month into school absolutely devious lick," @jugg4elias wrote alongside the stolen face masks. As you might've guessed, "devious licks" refers to stolen items. Now, 300,000 views later, other students are dying to get in on the "devious licks" trend with schemes of their own. 

@dtx.2cent decided to follow suit and completely disregard the current health state of the globe by snatching hand sanitizer, quite the practical move, but hey—anything for viral fame, right? "Only a month into school and got this absolute devious lick," the user wrote. The video earned over 2.5 million views, though it doesn't currently seem available on the feed. Another viral video the user posted—which fell short with only 2.3 million views—shows a "devious lick" laptop monitor appearing from the user's backpack. 

Have a look at some of the antics below. 



♬ original sound - if i accept your valid

When it comes to problematic trends—including the recent Milk Crate Challenge where people were climbing stacks of boxes and getting injured in the process—TikTok has issued warnings against these attempts, though warnings don't seem to faze too many users...until their content gets removed. 

The TikTok community guidelines cover how the app handles violent and abusive content, illegal activities and integrity issues, among other subjects. It looks like theft is just another subject the company heavyweights have to cover. At the time of publication, it appears that TikTok stealing challenge videos are still live on the platform. Should anything change, we'll be sure to keep you updated. 

Folks, when perusing the app, try to learn a dance, add a few of the best TikTok beauty hacks to your routine, see what Dixie and Charli are up to. Let's just leave the bad behavior behind.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.