Labello challenge: The Tik Tok challenge that panics parents

The challenges on social networks are more and more numerous and some are simply dangerous. The latest is the Labello challenge which consists of putting on lip balm every day and committing suicide once the bottle is empty. This challenge has been all the rage with young people on Tik Tok for the past few days. Parents panic.

Challenges and challenges on social networks have been a huge success with young people in recent years. But if some can be interesting, others turn out to be very dangerous. This is precisely the case of the Labello challenge on Tik Tok, which has gone viral for a few days. The concept is as simple as it is frightening. This consists of filming yourself putting Labello lip balm on your lips every day or cutting off part of it when you have problems or difficulties and when the bottle is empty, you have to end your life. For the moment, the challenge would not have made any victims but you never know since it is intended for a very young audience, namely children and teenagers. Many parents have expressed their concern following the great success of this new challenge. “People who share this kind of challenge on social networks must be punished by law. We hit rock bottom. Encourage young people to commit suicide, I think we can’t do worse than that. I really hope that no one will take them seriously”, indignant Mohamed, father of a family. “But what world do we live in? How can you invent such a dangerous challenge and share the idea with young children on social networks? I have been very afraid for my people since I learned of the existence of this challenge. I try to make them aware by discussing this with them, but I can’t help but be worried,” says Sara, mother of two daughters.

Faced with the magnitude of this challenge, several teachers, influencers, doctors, psychologists… have mobilized to raise awareness among young people and prevent them from taking action. In France, even the Ministry of the Interior has launched a prevention message inviting parents to be vigilant. The lip balm brand Labello has meanwhile stressed that it is cited in spite of itself in this case and that it is in no way associated with or in favor of this challenge or any other form of violence or self-harm.
According to the various testimonies of parents, what makes this challenge particularly worrying is that it is broadcast on TiK Tok, which has a lot of young users around the world, especially in Morocco. “Tik Tok is attracting more and more young people. Indeed, several children have fun watching the videos on this social network every day. And there is a good chance that they will come across this challenge. They may think it’s just a game, which can end in tragedy,” warns Houda Hjiej, a child psychiatrist. “This kind of challenge can be very dangerous for children and adolescents, especially some fragile people who will identify with people who launch this kind of challenge. These are generally young people who are always looking for strong sensations or people who need a way to express their discomfort or their negative feelings, ”she underlines.
To avoid tragedies, the child psychiatrist insists on the importance of talking about this kind of subject with the children. “It is very essential that parents talk about this with their children. Above all, they must not make it a taboo or pretend not to have seen it. It is also important to ask children and teenagers their opinion on this subject while trying to get them to be critical of this kind of practice,” advises Dr Hjiej.

Similarly, Dr. Bernard Corbel, psychologist, points out that a high percentage of the adolescent population is susceptible to morbidity and pathology. An absence of deep meaning to transmit to the rising generation can only increase this sensitivity. “The more a teenager is a sensitive personality, the more this kind of challenging game can lead to problems and lead to increased stress, increased anxiety and isolation from the surrounding adults and family. The world that we propose to children and adolescents is an essentially materialistic world, based on consumption and the display of possessions, everything is consumable there, including individuals. The temptation is great to escape. To prevent adolescents from appearing in the “at risk” category, they must be given attention and listening,” explains the psychologist. The latter specifies, moreover, that listening is not simply giving advice or judging or even saying what we think, but rather exposing what we understand and what we feel about what the teenager lives and shares, which will develop the feeling of love.


Questions to Bernard Corbel, psychologist

“For young people, social networks present a space where it is possible to confront fear publicly”

Le Matin: How dangerous can this kind of challenge be, knowing that it’s not the first of its kind?

Bernard Corbel: I think it’s a social psychosis without too many consequences if we want to talk about the risk of suicide or scarification. On the other hand, it corresponds to a shocking ritual but which allows adolescents to experience a form of social integration, hence its attractiveness. These are challenges against a background of a particular taste for the morbid and the instrumentalization of fear. Such a game with its challenges could, however, prove dangerous for hypersensitive and suggestionable adolescents. In my opinion, there is a very significant risk of narcissistic injury for young people who have asserted themselves in the challenges, filmed on video and who nevertheless do not go to the end of their challenges. The whole problem, in short, would be to get out of this attractive spiral and to be valued by the importance of the challenge.

How exactly can we explain the attraction of young people for challenges on social networks?

The challenges on the social networks have, in my opinion, a role of ritual of integration in the group of young people gradually becoming adults, like an initiation. Overall, apart from school and football for some young people passionate about this sport, there is nothing that would have a high emotional value as an integration process. Young people need to fight, to confront each other. They need to identify with heroes and therefore seek to become one. They need action that would have a social impact. Social networks, finally, present a space where it is possible to dream, to publicly confront fear, abjectness, horror and to show one’s strength. However, the ridiculous dimension of this challenge would be the final accomplishment.

What advice can you give to parents of teenagers who are more and more tempted by the realization of challenges on social networks?

We can understand this attraction and respect it, but only up to a point. Hypersensitive young people must be allowed to emerge from the state of fascination in which they find themselves. The first emergency is the listening process, which can be delegated, possibly, to a psychologist, if it has been realized that the child is trapped in a game that includes challenges or challenges. He obviously feels he has to do certain things, because he’s committed to them. In a deeper and broader way, we must look for activities that generate meaning. Two directions can be favored, that of sports and that of theatre. In both cases, it is necessary to imagine both the insertion in a group, a team and the confrontation with the public.

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Labello challenge: The Tik Tok challenge that panics parents

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