BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — The “Kia Challenge” is just one of many recent TikTok trends to lead to troubling behavior in kids, with others including the “Devious Licks” trend last year.
Brighton Police Sgt. Keith Woodward has seen enough of these social media challenges to know many are dangerous.
“It’s real easy for these kids to get caught up in these social media challenges, and these social media trends and don’t understand the real-world implications of these things. Like you’re stealing a vehicle if you’re caught in a stolen vehicle you’re going to be arrested,” said Sgt. Woodward
The challenge focuses on stealing Hyundai and Kia cars which have a security flaw that allows them to be unlocked and started without the key. Investigators in Buffalo believe that a group of teenagers was participating in this challenge shortly before crashing their vehicle leaving four dead.
“This tragedy in Buffalo, with these kids who had their entire lives ahead of them — cut short, because of a stupid decision that they made for social media clout,” said Sgt. Woodward.
Across our area, the trend which began in the Midwest hasn’t slowed down much in recent months after initial thefts were reported in August in the Brighton area.
“We’ve had more instances of Hyundais and Kias being stolen in a similar fashion… 2010s I mean all the way up to 2019,” said Sgt. Woodward.
While this trend mainly targets Hyundais and Kias for their vulnerabilities there are some quick tips that no matter what model car you drive you can keep your vehicle secure.
“It’s the classic stuff to protect your vehicles, park in a well-lit area,” Sgt. Woodward said. “Don’t leave valuables in your car, [make sure you activate] the steering wheel locks.”
One final point made by Sgt. Woodward: make sure you’re remaining vigilant about what your kids are consuming on social media, and remain proactive in talking to them about how their actions can have consequences.