Australian schools have issued serious warnings urging parents and caregivers to keep their kids off social media after a distressing video was shared and widely distributed.
The clip was reportedly live-streamed to Facebook on August 31 but made it to other social media sites including Instagram and TikTok where it has subsequently been re-uploaded several times.
Schools on Tuesday warned parents and carers to keep their children away from social media until all traces of the video – that depicted a man taking his own life – were removed.
There are reports that people have re-uploaded the video and displayed images of puppies and kittens at its beginning to lure social media users into watching.
A similar message was distributed on Facebook by many schools across the country.
“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.”
The post continued, saying caregivers were strongly recommended to keep their children offline today (Tuesday) “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,” the post read.
Many schools directed its community to mental health service resources including Kids Helpline, Headspace, Lifeline and BeyondBlue.
TikTok addressed the video in several posts on Tuesday, saying it was aware of the clips and its systems “have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our Community Guidelines”.
“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,” another TikTok post read.
We're aware that clips of a suicide that was livestreamed on Facebook have recently circulated on other platforms, including TikTok. Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our Community Guidelines.— TikTokSupport (@TikTokSupport) September 7, 2020
Many people expressed that the warnings had come too late having not had a chance to remove their kids’ social media before they came across the video.
“My daughter didn’t have a choice when she saw it. The video was presented as a kitten video. Started with kittens etc but then it cut to the scene,” one mum wrote in response to TikTok.
“She has severe mental health issues & seeing that sent her into a breakdown,” she added.
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