Tessie Hires’ son was dying to be well-known — and a harmful TikTok stunt sealed his destiny.
“If I would have known about some of the dangerous things he was doing in his TikTok videos, as his mother, I would have stopped him and he’d still be here with me,” Hires, 37, advised The Post as her voice trembled and tears streamed down her face.
The Florida girl’s 18-year-old son Timothy Isaiah Hall, identified to his greater than 273,000 followers as @TimboTheRedneck, died on July 31 whereas trying a “fishtailing” stunt to impress his on-line viewers.
The daredevil deed propelled Hall out of his beloved GMC truck’s driver’s aspect window. His 4,000-pound-plus pickup — nicknamed “Big Booty Judy” after he obtained it as a highschool commencement present in May — toppled on its aspect and onto his physique, crushing his inner organs.
Timbo died with more than 2.5 million “likes” to his credit score.
He is however one of many disturbing and rising variety of digital influencers who’ve not too long ago suffered extreme “skull-breaker” accidents, dry-scoop-induced heart attacks, attainable eating disorders and even deaths whereas executing reckless stunts within the identify of social media superstardom through TikTok.
Among the primary of the TikTok tragedies was Chloe Phillips, a 15-year-old from Oklahoma who died of a coronary heart assault in August 2020 after taking on the Benadryl Challenge, wherein the purpose is to movie oneself hallucinating from the remedy.
Joshua Haileyesus, 12, was found unconscious on March 22 by his twin brother on a rest room ground of their Colorado dwelling after attempting TikTok’s Blackout Challenge, wherein teenagers maintain their breath till passing out on video. He was pronounced mind lifeless and died after 19 days on life help.
Equally alarming is the variety of deaths by suicide racked up by teenagers and 20-somethings regardless of thousands and thousands of followers and profitable digital “clout.”
“My son loved TikTok, and always wanted to make the best videos for his fans,” Hires advised The Post of her late son, who beguiled viewers along with his controversial “Confederate comedy” and “Timbo’s #LivingSouthern” shtick. “But he took his love for being popular on the app too far. And now he’s gone forever and my heart is broken. It will always be broken.”
However, medical specialists have loads to say about millennial and Gen Z fame-seekers turning into hooked on the euphoric sensation of achieving notoriety through hazardous TikTok techniques. They’re involved that the specter of dying isn’t sufficient to discourage younger individuals from the attract of internet infamy.
“The intoxication a person feels from the combination of dopamine and adrenaline that’s released when their posts go viral is unbelievable,” New York University psychologist Yamalis Diaz advised The Post. “Neurologically, that high is like a drug.”
According to Diaz, as soon as viral hopefuls expertise the preliminary “hit” of on-line reputation, they’ll cease at nearly nothing to recapture and preserve that electrifying thrill.
“TikTok and other platforms are constantly raising the bar on what it takes to be widely noticed — and what it takes to sustain that top-ranking status,” she added. “And unless the apps become more proactive about immediately banning dangerous trends, young people will continue putting themselves at risk by doing these catastrophic stunts in the hopes to gain views and followers.”
Uber driver and social media character Renard Smith welcomed 1,500 new social media followers after he narrowly averted snapping his backbone whereas attempting the infamous Milk Crate Challenge in August.
“I’d do it again, I’d just wear padding next time,” Smith, 29, advised The Post of the since-banned phenomenon that resulted in a string of life-threatening damages throughout the nation — together with torn ligaments, bone fractures and spinal wire accidents.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound father of 5 solely sustained a large bruise and a sore again when he fell from the 7-foot-high mountain of plastic containers his pals constructed within the entrance yard of his Houston dwelling. And the trending footage of his epic fail garnered over 100,000 views.
“It was painful, but worth it,” mentioned Smith, an aspiring rapper. “It’s not often people go as viral as I did, and I’m thankful for the attention the video brought to my music and social accounts.”
Australian “Big Brother” star Tilly Whitfeld additionally went viral when she taped two stitching needles collectively and injected pretend tattoo ink that she bought from eBay into the pores of her face. She was following the steps of TikTok’s viral Freckles DIY hack.
“So many influencers do this, and I’ve seen some with millions of views and likes,” mentioned Whitfeld, 21, who took a stab on the dicey magnificence how-to simply two months earlier than her actuality TV debut in August 2020.
The ink used within the makeshift process poisoned Whitfeld’s face. Her contaminated pores and skin broke out with thick pink blotches, and her face was so severely swollen that she briefly misplaced her imaginative and prescient. More than a 12 months later, she advised The Post her pores and skin “is still healing. It will never be the same. It is permanently scarred.”
And whereas Whitfeld cautions her over 172,000 social media supporters in opposition to testing out probably dangerous developments and methods, she’s additionally undeniably happy together with her world renown.
“I was gaining thousands of followers a day,” she mentioned of her viral second within the highlight. “My star was shared all over the world.”
She’s additionally not afraid to proceed taking whacks at different iffy TikTok hacks.
“I’m doing trends all the time,” Whitfeld admitted to The Post, noting that many of the fads she follows are geared towards correcting her pores and skin. “I have nothing to lose.”