‘Easiest shops to rack’: TikTok teens in shoplifting brag
A viral trend on popular video app TikTok is encouraging children and teens to shoplift, with experts confirming the pressures of social media are driving our kids to "anti-social behaviour".
The trend involves teenagers, mostly young girls, either filming themselves appearing to steal from stores, or suggesting the easiest shops from which other teenagers can steal.
In at least 30 videos shared on the video platform and seen by The Daily Telegraph, young girls show off the "best places to rack from", and, in more blatant examples, film themselves appearing to steal from shops.
The most common businesses mentioned as targets in the clips were Kmart, jewellery store Lovisa and fashion outlets Cotton On and Cotton Body.
Other videos said Target, Coles, Woolworths, Factorie and Sports Girl were also easy to steal from.
In one video, three young teenagers in school uniforms reveal the "easiest places to rack, Aussie edition". Another says "for all my Aussie teen girls out here, these are the easiest shops to rack from xoxo".
Another video says "apparently stealing is a trend now, but be careful" and shows a picture of a ban notice from a shopping centre.
The trend is an example of ways peer pressure on social media apps can lead to anti-social behaviour, according to Dr Caroline Moul, psychologist and youth crime expert from the University of Sydney.
"With these trends, once they start it becomes social capital.
"It's social pressure, and if you can get a video of yourself doing it, then that's the current excitement."
Dr Moul said likes were just another way to quantify popularity, which can in turn drive children and teenagers to engage in risky behaviour.
Dr Moul said while some may have just been pretending to steal, it could still incite others.
"It's a serious problem and there's no easy answer here … some may be pretending, but either way it's anti-social, it's wasting the time of shopkeepers," she said.
A NSW Police spokesman said they had not received any reports on the trend, but urged parents to be vigilant in supervising their children while they are using social media.
TikTok is currently the top-ranked app on the iTunes app store.
A TikTok spokesman said: "TikTok is a platform for creative expression, and we're committed to keeping this community safe.
"The trend in question is a violation of our community guidelines, and we will remove any such reported content."