Parents are being warned about the latest TikTok trend, or 'challenge', which apparently encourages teenagers to overdose on paracetamol and who can stay in hospital the longest.

The worrying 'trend' reportedly started in Southampton over the weekend.

Donna Jones, the new Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Tuesday that parents need to get involved and teach them 'right from wrong'.

"These TikTok flash mobs are ridiculous. We’ve had a load of kids in Southampton take paracetamol over the weekend following a TikTok challenge to see who can get hospitalised and stay in there the longest," warned Jones.

"Parents have a responsibility to sit down and speak to these kids about what is going on TikTok, how these things are not fun, people will die, it is not sensible to do this and don’t feel the peer pressure that you have to."

"There are social media influencers who will set challenges to each other and the public," Jones added.

"What happened in Southampton over the weekend is that young people, aged 15 to 17, decided to challenge each other to overdose. And the person who remained in hospital for the longest would be the person who won.

"Of course, this is incredibly worrying. It is putting young lives in danger and I don’t think they understand the fun could be very worrying. It is taking up much-needed ambulance and police time.

"We can’t afford for that to happen and I think parents need to get involved."

Jones called out TikTok specifically, who responded by saying: "We have seen no evidence to support these claims and we have zero tolerance for content facilitating or encouraging criminal activities".

"We have over 40,000 safety professionals dedicated to keeping TikTok safe – if we find content of this nature, we remove it and actively engage with law enforcement on these issues."

Back in 2015, VICE debunked reports of the 'overdose challenge'.

They stated: "There's no real evidence to suggest that anyone has been taking overdoses of the drug after being challenged to do so online, anywhere, ever. There's certainly nothing to suggest that it's some kind of craze.

"Social media trends tend to be actually visible on social media; this one isn't. Of the thousands of tweets on the #ParacetamolChallenge hashtag, most are shocked adults squawking and condescending over the stupidity of the young; none are young people actually being stupid."

NHS advice on paracetamol

Paracetamol treats aches, pains and high temperature. The NHS states: "Adults can take two, 500mg tablets, four times in 24 hours. You must wait at least four hours between doses.

"Do not take more than eight tablets in 24 hours." Find out more about paracetamol for adults and who can take it here.

For children, it adds: "Do not give your child more than four doses of paracetamol in 24 hours. Wait at least four hours between doses."