Social Media: The Darker Side 

Young people are enjoying greater global connectivity than ever during this digital age, but are parents, guardians and teachers fully aware of the associated risks? Our team of specialist schools experts investigate in a series now live.

When a video of a man committing suicide hit a social media app popular with children, it was a chilling reminder of how young people can be exposed to the internet’s dark side.

Primary schools in Tayside and Fife reported pupils in distress after having unwittingly viewed the graphic footage of the man shooting himself and issued warnings to parents to avoid the channel until it was removed.

For several days Tik Tok struggled to remove the clips – which it later blamed on a coordinated attack by a group of users.

The short-video streaming app is popular with young teenagers, many of whom whiled away the hours during lockdown uploading short dance routines to share with their friends.

And many of them saw the horrifying video, first broadcast live on Facebook, as they scrolled through its trending home page.

The incident prompted renewed debate about the onus on internet companies to police social media content, and of parents’ responsibility to be aware of their children’s online activities and, with schools, to educate them on safe internet use.

To shine a light on the issue, we have looked at cases in our area where children have been exposed to harmful material or communication online.

We also speak to charities about work to campaign for tighter regulation and promote better education, and explore how children are taught from an early age about cyber safety.

In a series of articles, we also provide tips on how parents can be more aware of their children’s online activities and help their children to stay safe.

Watch our team of specialist schools experts discuss this investigation in more detail