Teenagers across the UK, inspired by a TikTok trend, are faking positive tests for Covid-19 in the hope of getting sent home from school.
A number of videos uploaded to the popular social media platform show British teenagers mixing various liquids to get a positive test.
Videos are uploaded under the search term #fakecovidtest where other teenagers can find them with more than 6.5 million views.
A dedicated account called @.fakecovidtests has more than 20,000 followers.
Fizzy drinks and acidic fruits are known to have the potential to display a false positive result which has called into question how reliable tests can be.
Clips on TikTok show youngsters mixing various liquids including apple sauce, Coca Cola, vinegar and kiwi fruit to trigger a positive reaction in the test and get sent home from school.
It comes as schools across the UK are being forced to send children home amid outbreaks of the virus.
Education leaders have described the new social media trend as “massively unhelpful” as schools continue to battle the ongoing health crisis.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, shared an urgent message with parents via the i .
He said: “We are sure this involves a very small minority of pupils, and that for the most part the tests are used correctly.
“However, we would urge parents to ensure that tests are not being misused, and we would suggest to pupils who are interested in chemical reactions that the best place to learn about them is in chemistry lessons in school.”
A TikTok spokesperson added: “Our community guidelines make clear that we remove content which includes misleading information that causes harm, including medical misinformation related to Covid-19, and anti-vaccine disinformation more broadly.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have worked to provide our community with access to trusted information, and through our partnership with Team Halo, scientists from all over the world have shared how vaccinations are created and tested for safety.”