A 10 years old Italian girl died of suffocation on Wednesday in Palermo (Sicily, southern Italy), while participating in a viral challenge proposed by the social network TikTok, Italian media reported this Friday. Antonella, who participated in the so-called “fainting challenge”, in the bathroom of her family home, put a belt around her neck to stay without breathing for as long as possible while recording the scene with her mobile.

The 5-year-old sister discovered the unconscious body. Transported to the Palermo Children’s Hospital by her parents, she did not survive. “Blackout challenge” is the proposed game that consists of children blocking their breath until they pass out and thus experience strong sensations. Every year it causes accidents, some fatal. The parents told the Local newspaper that another 9-year-old sister was the one who explained what happened, Antonella was playing the choking game.

We didn’t know anything, the girl’s father confessed to the newspaper. I only knew that Antonella entered TikTok to watch videos. How can I imagine that atrocity? He asked himself desperately. My daughter, my little Antonella, dies in an extreme game of TikTok, I can’t accept it! Added Angelo Sicomero, who together with his wife decided to donate the daughter’s organs so that “other children can live thanks to her.

SUICIDE INCITATION

The Palermo Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation for “incitement to suicide. The girl’s mobile phone was seized by the investigators, who will have to determine if Antonella was in contact with other participants and if someone invited her to participate in the challenge or if she was making that video for a friend or relative. Faced with the tragedy, the platform founded in 2016, which claims to have 100 million users in Europe, issued a statement.

The safety of the TikTok community is our highest priority, we are at the disposal of the competent authorities to collaborate in any investigation,” he wrote. Antonella, who is in the bathroom of her home doing the “Blackout challenge” – challenge of the blackout, put a belt around her neck to stay without breathing for as long as possible while recording the scene with her mobile phone. The 5-year-old sister discovered the unconscious body. Later, she was transported to the Palermo Children’s Hospital by her parents, but she did not survive.

The “Blackout challenge” is a dangerous viral challenge that consists of its participants blocking their breath until they pass out and thus experience strong sensations. Every year it causes accidents, some fatal. The parents told the Local newspaper that another of the 9-year-old sisters was the one who explained what happened, “Antonella was participating in the choking game. The Palermo prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for “incitement to suicide.” The girl’s mobile phone was seized to determine if Antonella had contacts with other participants and if someone invited her to participate in the challenge or if she was making that video for a friend or relative.

This case reopens the discussion on the safe use of social networks and the dangers that minors face with their exposure to the digital world, without the control of their parents. Faced with the tragedy, the platform founded in 2016, which claims to have 100 million users in Europe, issued a statement, The security of the TikTok community is our highest priority, we are at the disposal of the competent authorities to collaborate in any investigation wrote. The Italian body in charge of the protection of personal data ordered to block until February 15 the operation of the social network Tik Tok in cases where the age of the users cannot be proven “with certainty”, after the death of a girl 10-year-old during a challenge proposed by the firm that is being investigated as “instigation of suicide.”

The guarantor for the protection of personal data ordered concerning Tik Tok the immediate blocking of the use of user data for which an agraphic age is not proven with certainty, the body composed of Members of Parliament who are in charge of online data protection in Italy. The decision of the official body comes a day after a 10-year-old Italian girl died of suffocation in the southern Italian city of Palermo, Sicily region while carrying out a viral challenge proposed by the social network TikTok.After the girl’s death, the Palermo prosecutor’s office investigates an alleged “instigation to suicide” as the cause of death.

THE DEADLY CHALLENGE

The game in which the girl who died participated is called “Blackout challenge” and consists of the children blocking their breathing until they faint and “thus experiencing strong sensations, which causes accidents every year, some fatal.As early as December, the personal data regulatory body had accused Tik Tok of a series of violations such as the lack of attention to the protection of minors; the ease with which it is possible to circumvent the prohibition, provided by the same platform, to register for children under 13 years of age; the lack of transparency and clarity in the information provided to users; and the use of default settings that do not respect privacy, the agency reported today. Antonella, who participated in the so-called “blackout challenge”, put a belt around her neck to stay without breathing for as long as possible, while recording the scene with her mobile, in the bathroom of her family home, reported the press Italian.

The mother and father of the deceased girl said that another 9-year-old sister was the one who explained what happened and told them, Antonella was playing the choking game. The girl’s cell phone was seized by investigators, who will have to determine if Antonella was in contact with other participants and if someone invited her to participate in the challenge or if she was making that video for a friend or relative.

After the tragedy, the platform founded in 2016, which claims to have 100 million users in Europe, issued a statement. The safety of the TikTok community is our highest priority, we are at the disposal of the competent authorities to collaborate in any investigation,” the document said. Known the news of the death of the Italian girl, the Argentine specialist in computer security Sebastián Bortnik recommended working “the pause” with children and adolescents against the use of technology and reinforcing dialogue with them from adults, who should accompany them “to educate them from early childhood.

Minors need to receive security containment in their digital life, from their close adults, families, teachers, who must be attentive to their digital world, where they spend a large part of their time, said Télam Bortnik, author of the book Guide for Parenting in a Digital World. What you have to work on is how that person meets the viral challenges, he added.

On the one hand, according to the specialist, there is something typical of adolescence where nothing we say can undermine a certain adolescent nature, because there is more propensity to rebel or to take risks. That description of adolescence, he continued, is complemented by two other characteristics; one is that networks create a false sense of belonging and viral challenges enhance this, Bortnik said. Another quality of the digital world is speed, We move with a lot of anxiety and verbiage and we don’t pause to think, and the idea of a pause is built.

The last factor that increases the risks of viral challenges in children and adolescents is loneliness. If a child goes to a club and something happens to him, he will surely tell his family about it, but if something happens to him in the digital world, many times, they feel that adults are not there to accompany them and that space for consultation is lacking, said. Because of this, Bortnik stressed the need to “generate this idea that the adult is there to accompany and this is also built.

Any fact or suspicion of a grooming action, the deliberate action of an adult to sexually harass a girl, boy, or adolescent through a digital medium that allows interaction between two or more people through social networks, email, Text messages, chat sites or online games can be reported through the toll-free 137 line, which operates throughout the country.