A new trend has emerged on social media: A child stands at a kitchen counter, waiting to watch their parent crack an egg into a bowl as they cook together. At the very last moment, the adult breaks it against the child’s forehead instead.
The children’s ages and reactions vary in the TikTok videos. While some older children can be seen laughing along with their parent, many feature younger children who appear stunned or visibly upset as their parent laughs at them. And experts are concerned that the trend could be harmful.
In terms of health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that handling raw eggs without care can put people at risk of salmonella — and children under 5 are at greater risk of falling seriously ill if infected.
Pediatricians and other child development experts have spoken out about the risk of emotional harm to the children featured in many of these videos.
“We’re talking about abuse disguised as having a bit of a laugh,” she said in a telephone interview. “For a child, the most important relationship they have is with their caregiver, whomever that should be. And that involves a trusting relationship — that this person will take care of me.”
She added: “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. And many children are going to be confused by that on a visceral level, never mind just about a cognitive level.”
The trend appears to be popular, with some videos of parents cracking eggs on their children’s heads receiving millions of views.
The hashtag #eggcrackchallenge has more than 66 million views on TikTok, but it also includes other versions of the prank not involving children.
Some experts said a one-off event is less likely to have lasting damage, but it’s hard to say from the videos whether this is the case.