A 12-year-old school boy found dead in his room is believed to have taken part in a bizarre TikTok suicide challenge on the platform after he turned to social media for support in lockdown.
Colbert Munoz’s lifeless body was discovered by his dad, Luis Munoz and mum Katiuska Beltran, in his bedroom at their home in Chile.
The couple found his computer open with a timer on the screen, prompting suspicions he had been under pressure to complete a sick challenge.
According to local authorities, Colbert’s tragic death points towards a suicide, but this is yet to be confirmed by investigators who plan to look through the boy’s phone.
Speaking on Chilean TV, Katiuska said the pandemic was “really hard” on her son and “stressed him a lot,” leading him to turn to social media networks.
She said Colbert was “clinging” to his online world, and branded the makers of such challenges as "evil" and "demons."
Katiuska said: "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."
Colbert's dad, Luis, said his son had become deeply involved with social media apps, particularly TikTok and dreamed of fame.
He also compared the app to giving children a revolver which they "load with ammo" as they become more entrenched in the sites.
Luis said: "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."
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.