Parents have been warned after a sick new trend emerged on TikTok where children show their younger siblings the now infamous video of Ronnie McNutt taking his own life, while filming their reactions.
McNutt, 33, killed himself in his Mississippi home on August 31 by shooting himself in the face with a shotgun – and livestreamed the entire gory death from his computer.
The horrific clip has since gone viral and has been reuploaded to various social media platforms including TikTok, a video-sharing app that is hugely popular among children and teenagers, as well as Facebook.
In the wake of the clip going viral on social media, a pal of Ronnie's blasted Facebook for sharing the video.
The grim clip led many social media users, including comedian Jason Manford, to warn others not to click on the thumbnail (which shows a bearded man with glasses speaking to someone on the phone).
The latest sick trend involving the clip sees kids show their younger siblings the suicide live-stream while filming their reactions, Kidspot reports.
The original suicide video isn’t necessarily being shown, and instead the camera focuses on the the face of a younger child as they watch.
One video depicts two young girls in which the older one does exactly this and holds up a phone in front of the younger one before allegedly showing the suicide video.
Now, TikTok user John Robert Bell is trying to spread awareness about the new trend, warning that it can cause trauma.
John’s channel is devoted to commentary on inappropriate TikTok videos, and he often calls out other users for bad behaviour.
“That reaction is exactly why I made the video I made yesterday which got muted,” he says in his video.
“You can tell by the delayed reaction and the way she’s looking to others for their reactions, that her brain is having a hard time processing what she’s seen.”
He begs users not to encourage sharing of the tragic video.
“I know some people are trying to turn this into a trend where you show your younger siblings that video, please DO NOT.”
John warns that watching disturbing content can “permanently rewire a person’s brain”.
“That rewiring can cause things like nightmares, or fear that the world is not a safe place,” he says.
A TikTok representative told Kidspot: “First of all, our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the individual.
“Following an internal review, we found evidence of a coordinated effort by bad actors to spread this video across the Internet and platforms, including TikTok. We detected and removed these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide. We also took swift action including banning accounts that were uploading this content.
“This is an industry-wide challenge, which is why we have proposed to peers across the industry that we work together on creating a 'hashbank' for such violent, graphic content and warn each other when such content is discovered so that we can all better protect our users, no matter the app they use.”
“We will never stop working to make TikTok an even safer platform for our community so they can continue to freely express their creativity.”
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.