BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The West Virginia State Fire Marshals Office posted a warning to their Facebook page this week. They are urging parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of tampering with electrical outlets, a trend kids are doing for internet fame.
The “outlet challenge” involves teens recording themselves sliding a penny behind a phone charger that is partially plugged into an electrical outlet, and posting the videos to TikTok.
15-year-old Zander Hall said all his friends us the app and he is familiar with the challenge.
“It’s pretty stupid… Why would you stick a penny in an outlet with your block?” said Hall.
Lt. Chris Graham with Beckley Fire Department, said, “That’s something you learn from an early age not to do, from the time my daughter was little we had the little plastic covers for the outlets so that doesn’t happen. It kind of shocked me that kids are doing that now.”
Shocked indeed. Graham said sticking a penny into an outlet could send 110 to 120 volts of electricity through your body.
“You’ll have burns, it can cause scarring, it can stop your heart, it can cause you to have loss of vision, loss of hearing,” said Graham.
Graham said it can also cause muscle spasms and loss of extremities. The goal of the challenge is to cause sparks, electrical system damage, and even fires.
“You’re going to cause that to arc and ruin that outlet, you’ll have to replace that outlet and possibly cause a fire in the walls of that home,” said Graham.
Hall said it is a risk he is not willing to take, no matter how many likes or views.
“Probably not,” said Hall. “Its not worth Kaboom.”
So far, three incidents were reported in Massachusetts.