Silhouette Challenge: What Parents Need to Know

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February 8, 2021

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


Sharon M.

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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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Table of Contents

What is the Silhouette Challenge?

  • Users record a video of themselves, often dancing, with a TikTok red filter applied that makes them look like a dark silhouette
  • The challenge started as a way to promote positive body image

Silhouette Challenge warnings in the news

"TikTok 'Silhouette Challenge' Warnings Issues as Red Light Fliter Removal Videos Abound" headline from Newsweek
After some internet users discovered a method to edit the filter into revealing women’s bodies, brightened versions of the videos were soon shared online. Tutorials on ‘removing the red filter’ have appeared on YouTube, garnering thousands of views.


"Security warning out for TikTok users baring all in silhouette challenge" headline from Eyewitness News ABC 13
This counter-trend has perverted the intentions of the challenge, leading some influencers to warn people against participating in the challenge.

ABC 13 News

Why should parents care about the Silhouette Challenge?

  • If students are filming their silhouette challenge videos partially naked or nude, their images are not completely safe and other users can see the original video

What can parents do about the Silhouette Challenge?

  • Talk with your student about positive body image and appropriate clothing for public viewing, regardless of what they think others can see
  • Ask your student if they have participated in the silhouette challenge and if they have, ask them what they were wearing behind the filter
  • Discuss the loss of control over your images and videos when posting them to any social media site
  • Enroll in the SmartSocial VIP (Very Informed Parent) program to learn more about TikTok and more ways to talk with your student about shining online


Social media challenges often have "hidden" dangers students do not know about from watching short clips of others participating. Parents and students can work together to determine the potential side-effects or dangers before participating in a social media challenge, like the Silhouette Challenge.

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