Benadryl Challenge: What Parents & Educators Need to Know

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February 16, 2022

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In this lesson, parents & educators will learn

  • Why and how students are participating in the dangerous social media challenge
  • Real world examples of how this is dangerous from news across the country
  • Learn tips on how to talk with your students about this challenge and its dangers

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!


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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.


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This app is listed in the Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
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This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

The Benadryl challenge is a viral trend that encourages users to take a large dose of medication, like Benadryl. Some users report experiencing hallucinations. The challenge is dangerous and medical experts and manufacturers have posted warnings about the challenge.

What is the Benadryl Challenge? (aka Hallucination Challenge)

  • Users take excessive amounts of the medication normally used for allergy relief with the hopes of inducing hallucinations
  • Challengers record themselves while on the medication and then share their experiences online with hashtags #Benadryl or #BenadrylChallenge
  • The challenge started on TikTok in 2020, but has spread to other social media over time around the country

What the news says

One perspective that younger kids have is that because it’s over-the-counter, because it didn’t come from my doctor, it’s not harmful. But some over-the-counter medicines can be even more harmful than those prescribed.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Oklahoma News 4 headline: Dangerous 'benadryl Challenge' on TikTok may be to blame for death of Oklahoma teen
The dose that can cause a hallucination is very close to the dose that can cause something potentially life-threatening…

KFOR News 4

New York 1 headline: TikTok Benadryl Challenge Prompts FDA to Issue Warning
In Fort Worth, Texas, Cook Children’s Hospital said it treated three teens in May from Benadryl overdoses after they were challenged on the app. The FDA said it is ‘investigating these reports and conducting a review to determine if additional cases have been reported.’


Why should parents & educators care?

  • Students may feel peer pressure to participate in this challenge. Taking medication that is legal, illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter is dangerous for teens
  • Taking high-quantities of medicine against the label’s instruction is dangerous for any user regardless of what they see others experience

What can parents & educators do about this social media challenge?

  • Above all, contact your local poison control center or 911 if you believe someone has taken medication
  • Even though TikTok says they are removing mentions of this dangerous challenge, teens may still be talking about it. It may also be seen on unmoderated social media apps or websites
  • Get involved and talk with your student about peer pressure on social media. Also, discuss ways to report or block bullying if they feel pressured to partake in dangerous challenges
  • Remind students that users don’t always share their full experiences in their social media posts. For instance, others have likely not shared their negative side effects of the challenge
  • ~ Explain the medical consequences of taking any medication or drugs

Additional resources

MomTalk with Beth & Andrea


In conclusion, the Benadryl challenge resurfaces on various social media and messaging platforms throughout the year. Teens want to connect with others users who seem to be “safe” despite taking high-doses of medication. This challenge is dangerous. Seek immediate medical assistance if anyone takes medication in a manner not directed by the label. Call your local poison control center or 911.

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