Chile – South America: The heartbroken parents of a 12-year-old boy was found dead in his bedroom by his devastated parents, prompting suspicions he died in a suicide challenge. Dad Luis Munoz and mum Katiuska Beltran said their son, Colbert, had been pushed to the brink during lockdown and turned to social media for support.
The boy Colbert dreamed of TikTok fame
The traumatized couple found their son’s lifeless body in his bedroom at their home in Chile, with his computer open and a timer on the screen prompting suspicions he had been under pressure to complete a sick challenge.
My son was clinging to social media after lockdown affected his mental wellbeing. The pandemic was really hard on him. It stressed him a lot and I think this made him get into social media networks much more. I can say I hate them [social media networks] today, but they are what keep me connected with a living son, so I am fighting against an inevitable future but a necessary future.Katiuska – Mother
The devastated parents said their son had become deeply involved with social media apps, particularly TikTok and dreamt of fame on the video-sharing app. His mum branded the makers of the bizarre challenges evil and demons.
Colbert’s dad, Luis, urged parents to monitor their child’s
To all the parents, let’s worry about our kids. Don’t allow kids to have a mobile phone in hand just so you are more relaxed and free yourselves from the responsibility.Luis – Colbert’s Dad
The grieving dad also compared social media networks to giving children a revolver which they load with ammo as they become more entrenched in the sites.
Parents suspect he was driven to his death by a sick suicide challenge
According to the prosecution’s initial investigation into the boy’s death point towards suicide. However this is yet to be confirmed and investigators plan to probe the boy’s phone as the parents claim a challenge is to blame.
The app has been in hot water and has even been threatened with a ban in the US over safety fears. In February a string of deaths were linked to the app in chilling instances of suicides being live-streamed on the platform and other, dangerous challenges.
And the digital world has been plagues by various challenges including the Momo and Blue Whale challenges but the mysterious and dangerous games remain shrouded in mystery, and it is still unclear whether they do exist or are urban myths.
In some extreme instances it’s claimed the challenge culminates with the user being encouraged to commit suicide, with a number of deaths linked to this including that of an eleven-year-old boy in Italy.