Parents petition TikTok for ‘mirror’ account feature after deadly ‘Blackout’ challenge

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition to TikTok asking for “mirror” accounts for parents, which would give parents access to the videos their children are watching.

The petition follows the July 20 death of a 12-year-old boy in Bethany, Oklahoma, who died after attempting to complete a Tiktok trend called the “breakdown” challenge. The challenge asks Tiktok users to record themselves holding their breath or choking until they pass out. The boy was found unconscious with ligature marks on his neck and died the following morning.

Advocacy group ParentsTogether says “mirror” accounts would allow parents to intervene in dangerous situations and tell their children about harmful content, citing cases such as extreme dieting or white supremacist content as examples.

Several other children have died from this viral trend, including a 12-year-old boy in April and a 9-year-old boy in June.

“We would caution parents to stay involved with their children and to take the time to watch what they are up to on social media,” the Bethany Police Department said in a statement. “Now more than ever due to lockdowns, children are bored and looking to occupy their time. Social media is a very influential part of a child’s life and should be scrutinized by parents.

The petition, addressed to TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas, lists “bullying, sexual predators and harmful content encouraging violence and self-harm” as app-created dangers faced by children.

Candace Cameron Bure apologizes for the TikTok Bible

“And despite being the #1 platform for kids, TikTok makes it extremely difficult for parents to keep kids safe,” the petition reads. “Unlike other platforms where a person’s content feed is based on the accounts and hashtags they follow, TikTok uses an opaque algorithm to choose what to show children. This means that parents have no way of knowing what their children are seeing.