Why parents are being told to take their children's phones off them tonight.

This post deals with suicide and might be triggering for some readers. 

A graphic video of a man taking his own life is circulating on TikTok, among other social media outlets, as platforms struggle to contain the circulation of the distressing content.

It's understood the man live-streamed his death to Facebook on Sunday night (US time) and it has since been re-shared to TikTok, an app that has gained widespread popularity in the past year and whose target market is Generation Z. 

Many young people have now unintentionally seen the video via their 'For You' page, which is TikTok's recommendation feed.

Safe on Social issued a warning to all parents on Tuesday, explaining the video is yet to be taken down.

"There is a live suicide streaming on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok," the statement reads. "The clip is extremely graphic and has yet to be moderated. Should this image appear in any of your feeds SCROLL past. Please advise all older students to do the same.

"We strongly recommend keeping your children offline today if possible, and heavily supervise all social media interactions until this content is removed. Check with your children to determine if they have viewed this clip. They are likely to be extremely distressed."

This was echoed by a number of cyber safety experts, including Susan McLean who said the video is "being hidden behind Cat videos as well". 

When contacted by Mamamia, a TikTok spokesperson confirmed they are working to permanently remove the graphic video. 

"On Sunday night (US time), clips of a suicide that had been livestreamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok. 


"Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide. We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who've reported content and warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the person and their family. 

"If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines directly from our app and in our Safety Centre."

Letters have been circulated to a number of Australian high schools warning parents of the material circulating online. 

In the meantime, Act for Kids has provided three steps for keeping children safe on social media in light of this video going viral. 

They are

  • Secure household devices by setting passcodes and restrictions on all devices
  • Supervise children online and monitor the material they are accessing
  • Sit down and have an open conversation with your child about the material they may see online.

If you, or a young person you know, is struggling with symptoms of mental illness please contact your local headspace centre here or chat to them online,  here. If you are over the age of 25 and suffering from symptoms of mental illness please contact your local GP for a Mental Health Assessment Plan or call  Lifeline  Australia on 13 11 14.

Kid's Helpline is also available on 1800 551 800.

Do you want to know how to keep your kids safe online? Introducing the Safe on Social Toolkit: the digital ‘survival kit’ of everything parents need to know to keep their kids safe on social media right now. Get the toolkit now