Making TikTok Videos Causing Some Deaths in India


Another boy from Bihar lost his life while making a stunt video for TikTok app. The boy, along with couple of his friends, started making a video on TikTok while diving into a stream of floodwater in Keoti block. When Qasim jumped into the floodwater and lost his balance, Afzal jumped in immediately to save him. Qasim somehow managed to escape, but Afzal drowned in the floodwater. In August 2019, a train ran over a 16-year-old boy while he was standing on railways tracks and recording a video for TikTok. The unfortunate death happened near Purulia station of West Bengal.

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Lot More Cases of Injuries

Apart from the sad TikTok deaths in India, there are many cases of serious injuries to people trying to make short videos of stunts/talents. This is more so in case of users trying to do trending Challenges on TikTok. On the other hand, India has also witnessed many Selfie-deaths in recent years. Responding to the death of Rajasthan boy who hung himself accidentally while making a video for TikTok, the Company released the below statement. The TikTok team also expressed condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

We would like to confirm that there is no such hashtag challenge or activity that TikTok is promoting on its app. TikTok in no way endorses, promotes or encourages its users to engage in any behavior that might cause harm to oneself or anyone else either via challenges or content published.

We have a zero tolerance policy on content and behavior that is against our Community Guidelines

Other Concerns of TikTok

TikTok has other concerns like posting obscene content and abuse. Because the social media video app is popular among children and students, privacy concerns are also raised. For example, some challenges on TikTok asked users to remove layers of clothing or make-up, exposing vulnerable children to sexual predators. In early 2019, many Indian politicians called for ban of TikTok or more tight regulation amidst concerns of sexually explicit content, cyber-bullying and deep-fakes. Countries like India, Indonesia and Bangladesh raised censorship issues with TikTok app. India and Indonesia have in fact banned the social media app briefly.

Consequently, in January 2019, the Chinese government made app developers like ByteDance responsible for user content shared via apps. More importantly, they listed 100 types of content under censor.

Caution for Safety

Apart from the risk of injuries and fatal stunts, Children are also vulnerable to obscene content risking their security. TikTok video making platform is popular amongst young girls, exposing them to potential abuse. So, it’s certainly important to follow caution and avoid any unwanted consequences at the cost of entertainment/publicity.

Parents should be aware of the apps kids are downloading. They must use the apps themselves and explain to the child about possible dangers of using them. It is best to activate a child lock on your phone and not expose them to online platforms at an early age. On the other hand, doctors are reporting digital addiction is as bad as drug addiction when users forget to maintain healthy work-life balance. They advise a four hours of “digital detox” every week – not using their phone or any other gadget.

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Prashanth Damarla