Is your kid active on TikTok? Have you seen them taking part in all sorts of crazy challenges on the app? What would you do if you noticed one of that crazy challenges hurts them to the point that they accidentally die?
A month back, a similar case was reported in Palermo, the capital of Sicily island in Italy where a 10-year-old girl accidentally passed away after taking part in a viral TikTok challenge. This led Italy’s data protection watchdog to block access to TikTok for users who were underage or whose age couldn’t be confirmed.
Let us delve deeper into the story and learn how the young girl died after participating in a viral TikTok challenge. Moreover, let us also talk about parents can prevent kids from getting too much involved in their digital lives.
Crazy TikTok Challenge Causes Young Girl to Die
All the TikTok users, especially young kids and teens, went into a deep shock when the news of the demise of a young girl caused by a TikTok challenge circulated in the media. The body of the young girl from Palermo in Sicily was found by her younger sister in the bathroom. Her sister said that she found her body in the bathroom while she was holding her smartphone.
When the media reached out to the girl’s family, it was found that the young girl was playing the “blackout game” on TikTok. What they meant was that she had participated in a crazy viral “blackout” challenge on the app.
The “blackout” game which is also quite popular with the names “the fainting game” or “the pass out challenge” on TikTok encourages users to choke themselves until they pass out for a few seconds. The young girl participated in the same challenge and then accidentally died while choking herself.
The girl’s family told a local newspaper that they weren’t aware that their daughter was participating in any such challenge on TikTok. They only knew that their daughter used the app to view the videos posted by others, especially dance videos. It was hard for them to digest that their daughter could do such an atrocious thing with herself while using the app.
Looking at the past, it is observed that the “choking game” or “blackout challenge” have been quite popular on social media. Several health experts have said repeatedly expressed that this trend is detrimental for young ones and that it can cause seizures, brain damage, and even death.
How Italy’s Watchdog and TikTok Responded
In response to the young girl’s demise because of the viral TikTok challenge, Italy’s Data Protection Watchdog went on to place a temporary ban on access to the TikTok app especially for users whose age could not be verified.
When TikTok was asked to comment on this issue, it said that they were working with authorities to find out what could have gone wrong. They also stated that they weren’t aware of any such content on the app that could have led the young girl to take part in the challenge.
When Insider got in touch with a TikTok spokesperson for their response on the tragedy, they said that privacy and safety are the top priorities for TikTok and that they were constantly trying their best to strengthen their policies, processes as well as technologies to keep their users safe on the platform, especially young users.
Kids participating in the crazy viral social media challenges is not a new thing. According to a study published in 2019, it was found that around 1 in 10 teens has taken part in a dangerous challenge at least once in their lives.
If we take a look at the statistics of the US alone, we come to learn that from 1995 to 2007, 82 kids between the ages of 6 and 19 have faced death after participating in an online game/challenge. Even looking at the recent reports, there is no evidence that the deaths caused by online challenges have slowed down compared to the past.
You can read the original article on Insider here: https://www.insider.com/tiktok-italy-orders-age-block-girl-dies-trying-viral-challenge-2021-1
How Parents Can Help
While TikTok needs to strengthen its privacy and safety policies and features to protect young users on the app, parents also need to play an important role here.
Parents should keep a close eye on their kid’s TikTok activities and know what they are doing there. They should know what sort of accounts their kids are following, what sort of videos they are watching, and what kind of challenges they are taking part in.
Had the young girl’s parents monitored her TikTok’s activity, they could have prevented her from participating in a stupid viral challenge and eventually saved her from death. First and foremost, parents need to make ensure their kids have enabled all the privacy and safety settings on the app.
Secondly, they must use some sort of monitoring or parental control app to monitor their kid’s activity on social media apps including TikTok. You can also carry out Snapchat hack and Facebook hack with a monitoring app. Mobistealth is the best monitoring app that parents can use to ensure their kid’s safety in the online world.
The app lets you monitor all your kid’s activity on social media including instant messages, posts, photos, and videos that they share with the rest of the world.
However, before considering installing a phone spy app on your kid’s smartphone, it’s important that you address your kid about the proper use of the app. Tell them the app is not meant to invade their online privacy but to keep them safe from harmful online dangers.
With proper tips on parenting, communication, guidance, and supervision of their online activity with a monitoring app, you can offer a safer online environment to your kids. More importantly, you can save your kids from mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, and loneliness. And, last but not least, death.