Warning For Parents Over Suicide Video Circulating on TikTok Disguised To Appeal To Children
"They're luring kids in with videos of kittens and puppies, then it goes to this very, very graphic video," said Safe on Social CEO Kirra Pendergast who advises parents to keep their children off social media until the clip is removed entirely.
Schools and social media safety experts are urgently warning parents and users to avoid viewing a suicide clip that has been circulating on various social media platforms, or sometimes embedded into other unrelated videos.
According to reports, the suicide clip that shows an American man taking his own life was originally live-streamed on Facebook. It subsequently went viral on various platforms like Twitter and Instagram, as well as on TikTok.
Suicide Videos Circulating on TikTok
“Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our Community Guidelines,” said TikTok in a statement.
While working to remove the footage from its network, the company also stated that they would be banning accounts that attempted to share the clips.
“We’re removing content & banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who’ve reported content & warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the individual & their loved ones,” TikTok wrote on its Twitter account.
While these videos have been taken down from most platforms after being reported, the clip, however, is still being viewed by thousands on TikTok, said CEO of Australian cyber safety provider Safe on Social, Kirra Pendergast.
This is in light of TikTok’s For You algorithm that recommends videos to users. It simply means that more people are seeing it on TikTok than on other social media platforms like Instagram, where the content in a user’s feed is primarily from the people he/she follows.
Pendergast said the clip was being shared on social media disguised as a video about kittens: “It’s a kind of trolling. They’re luring kids in with videos of kittens and puppies, then it goes to this very, very graphic video.”
She advised parents to keep their young children off social media over the coming days if possible.
For older kids, on the other hand, Pendergast suggests parents have conversations with them while explaining how to report distressing content.
The social media safety expert also highlights the importance for adults to step in and seek help for their children who have been exposed to the content.
How To Keep Kids Safe On Social Media
1. Stick to site age requirements
Parents should set a good example for children by adhering to age requirements stated by the site. Most social media sites require users to be 13 or above, so do not give in to children’s requests to create an account using a false birth date. Parents have to take the initiative on this one. You can’t rely on social media sites to keep underaged users out.
2. Get involved from the very beginning
Ideally, you should guide your child when he is setting up his social media account so that you can learn more about the site and its privacy settings. This allows you to ensure that your child does not provide personal details like his full name, address, or contact number. If the site has a function that ‘blocks’ random users from seeing his pictures or information, remember to enable that.
3. Educate your child about cyberbullying
Explain to your child what cyberbullying means. Tell him that he should approach a trustworthy adult if he finds himself in that situation, or knows someone else who is. Encourage him to refrain from joining in on such behaviour, even if his friends are all doing it. Remind children to treat others as they would be like to be treated.
4. Act as a listening ear for your child
Remind your child that he can always talk to you if someone is bothering him or making him feel uncomfortable on social media sites. Even if he’s made a mistake, like adding a stranger online, work with him calmly to resolve the issue.
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