Most parents are aware of the risks associated with children using social media. However, most parents never imagined having to worry about their children losing their life as a result of following a fad they saw go viral on social media.
Arriani Jaileen Arroyo, age 9, was a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native. When her parents handed her her first phone, she was just 7 years old. Naturally, little Arriani downloaded the well-known TikTok app and frequently uploaded movies to the service.
She posted recordings of herself dancing or singing that were of a benign nature. Her family claims that as she continued to use the app, she developed an obsession with taking part in TikTok challenges.
According to a press release issued on behalf of the family by the Social Media Victims Law Center (SMVLC), “Ariani’s parents did not see these Tik Tok challenges as harmful because many of them featured eating and dancing.”
Arriani’s 5-year-old younger brother discovered her unconscious on February 26, 2021. She was suspended from what appeared to be a dog leash that she had attached to the entrance to her room.
The young kid proceeded to tell their father, who was at the moment in the cellar. Arriani was taken to a hospital by emergency personnel after the father immediately called for help. After that, she was given life support.
She had been acting in this way in front of her 5-year-old brother for at least 30 minutes. Arriani’s family decided to remove life support after tests proved she had severe, irreparable brain damage and total loss of brain function, according to SMVLC.
Lalani Erika Renee Walton, age 8, also received a cell phone from her parents. The TikTok user from Temple, Texas, also uploaded videos of herself singing and dancing.
Lalani returned home from a road trip with her stepmother Rashika Watson on July 15, 2021. Lalani was instructed to clean her room while Rashika took a short nap; once they were finished, they may go swimming.
An hour later, Rashika awoke from her nap and went to check on Lalani. When she arrived, she discovered Lalani hanging from her bed with a rope around her neck. When Rashika touched her, she was still warm. When authorities came, they determined that she had died from asphyxiation.
Both females took part in the “blackout challenge,” a TikTok challenge, according to SMVLC. This fashion encourages people to suffocate themselves until they pass out using belts, purse strings, and other similar materials.
TikTok is referred to as “an addictive product that is not safe for consumers” in the lawsuit the families have filed.
TikTok has to be held accountable for exposing these two young girls to dangerous content, according to Matthew P. Bergman, the founding counsel of SMVLC. TikTok has spent billions of dollars designing products that deliberately promote hazardous content that it knows is hazardous and may cause its users’ deaths.
Children aged 13 and older are the target demographic for the TikTok app. The app features an age gate that users must pass in order to access it; for those who are younger, the software behaves differently.
Knowing that these families lost their little daughters due to a social media trend is extremely tragic.
Please spread the word about this article so that more people are aware of the negative effects social media may have on kids.