concerning social media trend has emerged on TikTok; parents and caregivers are cracking eggs on children’s heads (instead of into a bowl) while cooking together. Now, experts are weighing in, worried about both physical and emotional risks, the Washington Post reported.
The videos usually start in a kitchen, with the children under the impression they are going to cook. When it’s time to crack the egg, the user cracks it on the child’s forehead or top of their head. Some cry, others look visibly uncomfortable, and some possess a particular, heartbreaking look of confusion — either to the camera or their caretaker. The hashtag “eggcrackchallenge” has 68.7 million views on TikTok as of Friday afternoon.
One of the first videos of the challenge, which was posted on August 10th by creator @Kynzi, has been viewed almost 5 million times and has nearly 348 thousand likes.
The creator has turned the comments off since posting.
Cath Knibbs, a child trauma psychotherapist, told WaPo she found viewing the videos “really, really difficult.”
“We’re talking about abuse disguised as having a bit of a laugh,” she told the outlet. “It’s not just the cracking of the egg; it’s the parents’ responses of laughing. By children, that’s experienced as humiliation. It’s experienced as a lack of trust.”
According to the CDC, exposure to raw eggs can put children at risk of salmonella, and emotional harm may arise due to a breach of trust and humiliation caused by parental laughter, further exacerbated by the distinct power imbalance at the forefront of the “challenge.”
“This is not something that benefits kids in any way, and I honestly don’t find it entertaining,” Dr. Meghan Martin, a pediatric emergency medical physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, told NBC News. “We’re literally smacking salmonella on their foreheads.”
Now, many of the videos are flipping the script and calling out the flawed nature of the trend.
In one video, a woman captions “egg crack challenge kids 20 years from now.” Acting as one partner, she asks the other if they’re hungry and says, in a lovingly and normal way, “I’m going to make some eggs.” In response, acting as the other partner, she nervously laughs, repeatedly says “No,” and shows visible signs of an emotional breakdown.
Others carry out the trend on their adult partners, parents, and family members. Some flip the narrative on the challenge entirely. In one video, a mother teaches her daughter how to make scrambled eggs, wherein she proceeds to teach her how to crack an egg — the normal way.
“Correct way to do the challenge,” a user commented.
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