The Italian body in charge of the protection of personal data ordered this Saturday 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 10-year-old girl during a challenge proposed by the firm that is being investigated as “instigation of suicide.”
“The guarantor for the protection of personal data ordered in relation to Tik Tok the immediate blocking of the use of user data for those who do not anagraphic age be safely demonstrated“The body made up of members of Parliament that is responsible for the protection of online data in Italy said in a statement tonight.
The decision of the official body comes a day after a 10-year-old Italian girl died of suffocation in the southern Italian town of Palermor, region of Sicily, while doing a viral challenge proposed by the social network TikTok.
Italy ended up deciding to block all Tiktok accounts in Italy. Photo DPA
After the girl’s death, the Palermo prosecutor’s office investigated an alleged “instigation to suicide” as the cause of death.
The game that the girl who died participated in is called “Blackout challenge” and it consists of children block their breathing until they pass out and “thus experience strong sensations”, which causes accidents every year, some fatal.
As early as December, the personal data regulator 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.
The case shocked Italy. Photo Corriere della Sera
Antonella, who participated in the call “blackout challenge”, He put a belt around his neck in order to stay without breathing for as long as possible, while recording the scene with his mobile, in the bathroom of his family home, the Italian press reported.
The sister of the 5-year-old girl discovered the unconscious body and her parents took her to the Children’s Hospital in the town of Palermo, but she did not survive.
“We didn’t know anything”, the girl’s father confessed to the newspaper La Repubblica. “I only knew that Antonella went to TikTok to watch videos. How to imagine this atrocity?” They said.
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.”
“That my daughter, my little Antonella, dies in an extreme game of TikTok I cannot accept it!” Added Angelo Sicomero, who together with his wife decided to donate the girl’s organs so that “other children can live thanks to her” .
The girl’s cell phone was seized by the investigators, who must determine if Antonella had contacts with other participants and if someone invited her to participate in the challenge or I 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.
“LTik Tok community safety is our top priorityWe are at the disposal of the competent authorities to collaborate in any investigation, “the document said.
How to handle similar cases: the opinion of a specialist
TikTok is very popular with the little ones. Photo Shutterstock
Known the news of the death of the Italian girl, the Argentine specialist in computer security Sebastian Bortnik recommended to work “the pause” with children and adolescents regarding the use of technology and reinforce dialogue with them from adults, who must accompany them “to educate them from early childhood.”
“Minors need to receive security restraint in their digital life, of their close adults, families, teachers, who must be aware of their digital world, where they spend a large part of their time “, told 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 threaten a certain adolescent nature”, because there is more propensity to rebel or 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, girls 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 consult space is missinga, “he said.
Whereupon, 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 free line 137, which works across the country.
With information and testimonials from Télam