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Helping your teen cope with distressing social media content

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Helping your teen cope with distressing social media content

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Helping your teen cope with distressing social media content

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Some parents may already be aware of a deeply distressing video that has been circulating on TikTok and other social media platforms, where a person took their life while streaming on social media. Unfortunately this content has has gone viral across several social media platforms, with some reports that it has also been embedded within other videos designed to appeal to children. 


The eSafety Commissioner and National Suicide Prevention Adviser have issued some recommendations today to help parents to support their kids: 

-     They suggest that if kids aren’t aware of this issue, that parents should avoid drawing their attention to it unnecessarily, in case it makes kids go looking for the content out of curiosity. Some parents have made the decision to keep their kids offline for a few days.

-    Keep an eye on anyone who may be more vulnerable and at risk, and check in with them about their interactions on and office

-    Make sure that teens know that they can always come to you for help if they see graphic or distressing content online. 

-    Engage in your child’s online activities - ask what apps, sites and games they’re using, and make sure they are age-appropriate. 

-        Help kids to report and block any upsetting content they may see on social media sites or apps.

-    If your teen does see this content, urge them to report it immediately on the social media platform, and it can also be reported to eSafety at

Having conversations with your child about suicide can be really difficult, but we know that these conversations can be a really important way to increase help-seeking in young people and help them understand the world around them . These can be really difficult conversations to have - this is a great, practical resource  on ReachOut Parents, designed to help parents to have those conversations.   


eSafety Commissioner also recommend that anyone who is upset or overwhelmed by information being shared online try the following tips: 

-    Talk to someone about how you’re feeling

-    Take a break, including physically stepping away for awhile, logging out of social media or engaging in a different activity

-    Take control of the content you see by hiding certain posts on your feed or unfollowing content that may cause distress. 


We also have a resource for young people who may be affected by disturbing social media content:





If you or your teens need support, help is available: 

-    Kids Helpline is a free 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 - 25: 1800 55 1800, online chat is also available from 8am - midnight


-   Lifeline: 13 11 14 for crisis support and suicide prevention services. Online chat is available from 7pm - midnight.


-   Suicide Call Back Service for ages 15 and over - 1300 659 467 or online chat is available 24/7

Incidents like this can also make parents examine their own views on social media and their kids- what age do you let your kids use social media from? Are you concerned about their safety online? We would love to hear your thoughts on this one.