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TikTok’s niche of independent companies that sell “security keys” to women is a strategy that worries security experts and exposes some of its entrepreneurs to potential legal problems.

Self Defense Keychain Small Business

Self Defense Keychain Small Business

Also known as “security key fobs,” these cute devices are sold in an online marketplace filled with concerns about women’s abuse. These businesses are often started by Gen Z women and offer similar products across all businesses.

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Often costing more than $30, the keys are marketed as a necessity for women who want to stay safe while looking attractive. Paired with bracelets decorated with pom-poms are weapons – sometimes hidden – such as pepper spray, stun guns, pocket knives or sharpened steel.

These tools require proper training to operate properly, but security companies often provide little or no guidance on their use.

On TikTok, some advertisers have sold keys with big claims, such as helping women fight off attackers, avoid attempted robberies or escape car accidents. Videos attract hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of views.

While lip glosses and hand sanitizers are exactly what they seem, other products are designed to mimic everyday items. Stun guns come in the form of cell phones, car keys, or lipstick. Pocket knives are hidden in hair combs, pencils or lipsticks, even hidden behind fake keys.

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Other important features of these keys are LED alarm lights, a “seat belt cutter,” a pen that handles door handles, and pointing devices called Kubotans, a Japanese self-defense weapon.

The main components of the chains are available in bundles on platforms such as and Amazon, and are also sold cheaply for less than $10 from non-US retailers such as Alibaba, DHGate and Global Sources.

In a TikTok video that has been viewed more than 9.6 million times, the owner of Fabulyss Boutique, a high-end jewelry store, enthusiastically reported Kubatons about his products.

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“This could save your life if you’re stuck in a car because you’re in a car accident, you’re in the water or you’re being robbed, this can break the window,” he told his 1.4 million followers. . “And it can also be used to attack your attacker.”

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Jennifer Cassetta, a self-defense expert who runs the online self-defense channel “She Warrior,” said giving “big guns” to untrained clients “is a no-brainer.”

“Most of the time, a tool is just a tool, it’s not a tool unless you know how to use it and you’re trained with it and you understand it and it’s like an extension of your organ,” Cassetta said.

“Unless you train and understand how these things work and it’s second nature to you – how can you expect a young woman to pull something out and stab someone in the throat who is attacking them?”

In TikTok videos, tools such as Kubaton, knives, knives and pepper spray have been shown on fruits, cuts of meat, cans, artificial meat and mannequin heads. Kubatons are known to be very effective for compression, but these videos use them as breathing tools.

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Self-defense keychains (also known as keychains) are sold in an online market full of TikTok that addresses women’s concerns about gender-based violence. TikTok images

In order to show the strength of the glass breakers, the sellers used pieces of glass that looked thin, saying that what they sold was strong enough to break the windows of houses and thick cars.

“If you don’t have power in your punch, you’re not going to break any windows, I don’t care what you’re holding,” Cassetta said.

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In addition to quick demos, keychain startups also wanted to show confidence in their products through the imagination embedded in TikTok memes. Fabulyss Boutique, for example, once showcased its products in a video titled, “When a nasty guy follows you but doesn’t know you have a secret fob.”

Iphone Stun Guns, Lipstick Knives: The Tiktok Self Defense Trend Sold To Women

“My problem with [key chains] is, first, they’re too crowded, and second, people think that having enough is enough to be safe,” said Dani Joy, senior consultant at IMPACT Personal Safety, based in Los Angeles. security agency, he said

. “Because if you are under attack, if someone is approaching and you feel insecure, your awareness goes up, more so, your adrenaline goes up too.”

Joy said doing simple things while “highly adrenalized” was more difficult than she expected – a problem IMPACT addresses when doing “exercises”.

“Doing the little things like trying to release the pepper and making sure it’s facing the right way and pushing the button doesn’t seem like a problem, but it’s a challenge,” he said.

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“All those horror movies where we see a woman running away and dropping her keys, and then she can’t get the keys in the lock, and we’re like, ‘How can you not do that?’ This is true of adrenalized conditions.”

Asked TikTok and the private security companies mentioned in the article for comment, but they did not respond in time for publication.

In order to market their products as essential security products, some of the most influential people have repurposed things that weren’t theirs, from creating products to the sound of women’s voices describing terrifying encounters to sharing local stories about violence against women.

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After a girl took to TikTok to describe how a strange man followed her and approached her, a shop called SkyDefense saw an opportunity to pass her video and show their key devices on the split screen.

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Another TikToker known as DefenseFairy promoted his keys by clipping videos from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu school.

The charmer performed a duet in the video in which the teacher forbids putting the keys between the hands (a common form of self-defense used by many women), and gives her medicine as a better option.

His run ended prematurely, as the martial artist was about to instruct viewers to learn how to fight and take self-defense lessons.

Similarly, he made a video showing that the same teacher is trying to kidnap a woman, cutting her just before teaching the techniques of fighting. In fact, DefenseFairy tells its followers to “get yourself some self-defense gear that could save your life.”

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But learning to fight with your bare hands is one of the most important things before you pick up a weapon, according to Jennifer Cassetta.

“You have to learn how to block, you have to learn to hit, […] and learn how to have power in your back,” he said.

“There are a lot of steps that are missing before you get to the tool,” he said. “There’s logic, there’s situational awareness, there’s all these other things – it’s self-defense.

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“If you don’t learn to protect yourself, how are you going to use your driving skills in the moment and pull out the big keys, carry the right thing, and drive safely with enough power and strength. work really?”

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Evidence that key fobs have saved women from harm is lacking, although positive customer feedback has shown that they have increased confidence in purchasing the product.

. “So if these tools give people the confidence to be in the world, it makes a difference.

Stock photo of a woman taking a self-defense class. Experts say women need to learn how to hit properly before relying on any form of self-defense. iStock/JackF

Despite selling products that claim to save lives, some vendors show a lack of understanding of actual safety.

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Fabulyss Boutique, for example, promoted an online scam in which smugglers put zippers on the doors of cars they want. (This has been refuted by fact-checking organizations like Snopes and PolitiFact.)

Another store called Gracefully Armed used the same trick to advertise their products in a TikTok video that was viewed more than 726,000 times. The video shows a man finding two different cars chained together with zip ties, which he cut open using a key in a store.

DefenseFairy shared a video on “how to spot an alcoholic beverage,” noting that one can tell if their drink has been adulterated by seeing lots of bubbles, discoloration, fog, or ice sinking. The video has been viewed more than 1.7 million times.

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A TikToker called DefenseBabes shared the same “tips” in a video that has been viewed at least 3.1 million times.

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Because of the different types of recreational drugs, there is no real way to tell if a drink is high just by looking at it.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, these substances are colorless, odorless and tasteless when added to beverages. Although soft drinks can change color or appear cloudy after pouring, it can be difficult to identify dark colored drinks or cloudy areas.

Jennifer Cassetta said: “Even myself, at 20 years old, I try to watch what I say and how I teach.

A TikTok hacker named Trap Girl Beauty shared the questionable content with her 75,000 followers, including a video with the caption, “I’m exporting knowing the dangers because I love you and I want you to be safe.”

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