What is body checking? Experts concerned about new TikTok trend

Kawter Abed
TikTok body checkingUNSPLASH: ROBIN WORRALL

Experts are concerned about a TikTok trend known as ‘body checking,’ which has recently been dominating many users’ For You Pages.

TikTok is home to many viral trends and challenges that range from wholesome to hilarious, but a recent trend popping up on the app has worried some experts.

The latest problematic fad, known as ‘body checking,’ encourages users to seek reassurance and information about the size, appearance, or look of their bodies.

The hashtag for the trend has over 5.8 millions views on the social media app. Body checking videos manifest in various ways, with certain sounds actively encouraging users to disclose their weight, while others see people emphasize areas of their bodies with baggy clothing.

Many triggering videos also include parts where users hold an object such as a scale, or their elbow to show off their small waist size. They are often followed with comments such as “I’m not hungry anymore” or “skipping dinner.”

Experts concerned about body checking TikTok trend

Some experts have claimed that watching body checking videos can trigger behavioral and mood swings, and say that participating in the trend can be dangerous.

Head of communications and engagement at The Butterfly Foundation, Melissa Wilton, told news.com.au that body checking “can be concerning behavior if it becomes obsessive or compulsive.”

“This could be frequent weighing, checking one’s appearance in a mirror or reflective surfaces like windows, pinching skin folds, feeling for bones, or checking the circumference of body parts like wrists, waists or thighs,” she explained.

“Body checking may also be a problem if it interferes with the individual’s ability to function daily, becomes a way to control fear or anxiety, causes social isolation, brings up negative emotions or leads the individual to engage in disordered eating behaviors in an attempt to change their body.”

Melissa suggested diversifying your social media feed “to be inclusive of bodies of all shapes and sizes,” and to make use of the ‘mute’, ‘block’ or ‘report’ buttons “if content is distressing, triggering or brings up negative emotions.”

Body checking is certainly not the only dangerous TikTok trend that has worried experts this year. Just months ago, doctors warned against the viral ‘NyQuil Chicken’ trend which saw people braising chicken in nighttime cold medicine, turning it into an unappealing shade of blue.

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