The devious lick: Social media is stealing teenagers’ common sense


Kushi Maridu

Mirrors are still missing in an upstairs men’s bathroom at Pleasant Valley High School.

Kushi Maridu, Site Manager

As schools opened up this school year, there has been a growing amount of thefts in schools across the country, including PV. Social media is the main culprit behind this trend.

TikTok, a social media platform, has been notorious for starting many trends. The most recent of these trends is the devious lick. The devious lick is a trend where students post videos of them stealing items from their schools and showing off the stolen items.

Examples of these stolen items include bathroom mirrors, hand soap dispensers and even toilets. Most of the items stolen are from bathrooms as there are no cameras. Things being stolen in the bathrooms makes it humorous for students in the school.

Junior Nathan Goy found this trend to be very funny when it started. “Although I knew it was vandalism, at the beginning of the trend, I always gave a chuckle when I walked in the bathroom with stuff missing. After a while, I did feel kind of guilty for finding it funny because there were a ton of people being negatively affected by this trend,” said Goy.

Although many students found this trend funny, a lot of people found it to be quite the opposite. 

Head custodian Dave Wheeler shared how this trend has been affecting the school and its environment. 

“Each incident reported and needing to be cleaned up causes overtime dollars to be spent to pay for the cleanup, also causing the cost of building maintenance to rise. Every incident one of the custodians spends time cleaning takes that custodian out of a regularly scheduled cleaning task for that amount of time, which puts the entire cleaning program into a state of trying to catch-up to where we should be,” said Wheeler. 

The devious lick trend has cost the school a lot of money, but the school has combated this by offering to give out more money. Early September, the school posted that it would offer up to $200 to anyone that gave information about people that have been involved in these devious licks.

Deputy Jamey Fah talked about how this tip has created a buzz around the school. “A lot of people are excited to let us know when they suspect or see things or know anyone involved,” said Fah. 

Along with the tips, the school is also heavily enforcing rules. Students are now required to carry hall passes when they need to use restrooms during class. Teachers are also required to check in the bathrooms during passing periods to make sure nothing suspicious is going on.

All of these enforcements have led to cases growing lower and lower everyday. “We’ve had pretty good success in these enforcements driving awareness and that in turn is driving down the number of incidents,” Fah shared.

As these devious lick incidents have been declining, it is important to acknowledge where all of this emerged from: social media. 

The Tide Pod Challenge, which involved people consuming Tide Pods, was popular in 2018. The more recent Milk Crate Challenge involves people walking up and down a podium made of milk crates. Both of these trends have proven to be fatal on multiple occasions, but people still continue to do them.

It is almost as if social media takes away from a person’s capability to think properly. People are so engulfed in trying to stay in on the trend and be popular that they cannot fathom the consequences associated with carrying out the trend. 

In a way, social media is the new peer pressure. Social media has added a new layer of pressure, specifically for young people. Everybody wants to fit in and be part of something bigger.  Oftentimes today, this pressure is an unseen force embedded deep inside the brain of the person trying to fit in and seem “cool.”

Although social media does have its consequences, it also has its benefits. A counter-trend called the angelic yield has taken root. It involves a person donating something in place of where an item was stolen during a devious lick. Although this trend does not have as much of a following as its predecessor, it shows that humanity is heading in the right direction and social media does not always have to have a negative influence.