By Oisin Sweeney • 22 January 2021 • 20:42
The tragic Sicily case has led for further calls to regulate TikTok for younger users - Image Source: Wikimedia
POLICE in Italy are probing a potential connection between the tragic death of a 10-year old girl and a viral TikTok “Blackout challenge”.
The child was discovered by her 5-year old sister in the bathroom of her family’s home in Palermo, Sicily, and tragically died after being rushed to the hospital. Her phone was found on the scene and was taken for examination by investigators who suspect her tragic death may be linked to a viral “Blackout challenge” circulating on TikTok.
Doctors have warned about the danger of the challenge, in which young TikTok users record themselves getting a “high” from restricting their brain’s access to oxygen. It is often called “scarfing” or “the choking game” by TikTok’s legions of youthful users.
TikTok said it had not managed to find any content on its site that could have encouraged the girl to participate in any such challenge but was helping the authorities to investigate the potential “incitement to suicide”.
“The safety of the TikTok community is our absolute priority, for this motive we do not allow any content that encourages, promotes or glorifies behaviour that could be dangerous,” a spokesperson for the Chinese company said.
The tragic death of the young girl has provoked an outcry in Italy, with many calling on stronger restrictions on youthful access to social networks. “Social networks can’t become a jungle where anything is allowed,” said Licia Ronzulli, president of Italy’s parliamentary commission on child protection.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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