Perhaps a common sight nowadays on the streets of Indian cities is a bunch of youngsters performing on camera for their upcoming TikTok video. The app not only gives a way to users to release their creativity, it also makes sure the kid next door becomes the next big thing on the internet. Some users have garnered millions of followers because of their engaging videos.
However, while TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps out there with the ability to turn users overnight into superstars, the obsession with the app has also proven fatal to users. A website called TikTok Death Tracker, lists incidents where users have either fallen to their deaths or died from a stunt gone wrong or injured themselves during filming since 2018.
One of the most recent cases is a rather gruesome one where a 17-year-old lost his life in Pirganj area in West Bengal's Malda district after he tied himself to an electricity pole and covered his face with a plastic bag. His friends - all minors - were filming him trying to escape. His friends thought he was acting while he was struggling to escape before he died of asphyxiation.
In another case, one died and another was critical in a road accident while filming a TikTok video. The duo was filming a TikTok video while riding a bike before they hit a stationary truck in Odisha's Berhampur. In a bizarre case, a teenager died after a loaded gun went off while he was shooting a TikTok video in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district. A teenager asked his mother to give him the revolver to make a video. The family wasn't aware that the revolver was loaded. When his mother heard a gunshot, she rushed to the room to find her son lying in a pool of blood.
In Rohini's Som Vihar, a group of men posted a video of another group at a wedding. This led to a brawl. Later in the day, three men went to the room where the other group was gambling and opened fire on them. Four had sustained bullet injuries.
A man in Coimbatore who wanted to film a video of him washing his bull in a lake, drowned. In another twisted series of events, a man allegedly killed his wife in Kanigiri in Vijaywada after he got upset with her habit of making TikTok videos. And yet another teenager and his friend were killed by a speeding train while they were filming a video for TikTok.
These cases are only from India in the past six months.
While there is not much the platform can do to prevent such incidents, it aims to keep parents in loop about the children's activities on the platform. Under the Family Safety Mode, parents can control how long their children can spend on the app.