This post mentions suicide and may be triggering to some readers.
'Mum, a girl in my class watched a guy kill himself yesterday.'
This was my very open and honest 10-year-old daughter bursting through the front door after school last September.
The person she was referring to was Ronnie McNutt, the man whose suicide video went viral across multiple popular social media platforms last year.
How 'proud parent syndrome' affects your child's cyber-safety. Post continues below.
It’s the very video that started as a livestream on Facebook, before spreading to Instagram, YouTube and Twitter like wildfire.
But it was none of these platforms that the kids at my daughter’s school watched it on. The culprit was TikTok.
Originally intended for users to have fun creating and sharing short dances and lip-syncing videos, TikTok has grown into a more sinister environment used to stalk and groom children, post vulgar and inappropriate content, and encourage participation in degrading and often dangerous activities.
I feel like I’m pretty 'up there' with social media, and because of this, my daughter doesn’t have access to many of the popular apps and games currently being accessed by her classmates. She sits with that pretty okay, but TikTok is a whole other beast.
Almost weekly, I am bombarded with claims of her being the only kid in the whole school who isn’t on TikTok, that she can’t join in on dances the other girls are doing, or watch videos by certain influencers - who she’s only aware of due to sleepovers, playdates, and constant discussions at school.