An international study conducted by TikTok has revealed that 63 percent of teens are experiencing mental health issues due to exposure to online hoaxes.

The survey involved 10,000 people including teens, parents and teachers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam. After consulting experts worldwide TikTok is strengthening its platform’s safety by removing videos involving self-harm/suicide hoaxes that “spread fear or panic.”

According to an official statement, TikTok will continue to implement additional measures and raise awareness on social media through campaigns such as #AapSafeTohAppSafe (The app is safe if you are safe). An online safety centre in Urdu was also launched to provide guidelines and resources to educate users on internet safety and privacy.

TikTok has also held public webinars with leading publications in Pakistan to promote safety and continued to make efforts towards making the platform a safe space for its users.

According to the report, Exploring effective prevention education responses to dangerous online challenges, dares like the Ice Bucket Challenge or #BlindingLightsChallenge promote “light-hearted” fun but some can be riskier and encourage harmful behaviours.

Responding to a query about a recent online challenge, 48 per cent of teens said recent challenges they had viewed were safe, 32pc included some risk but were still safe, 14pc were described as risky, while 3 per cent of online challenges were described as “very dangerous.” Case in point – the skull breaker challenge or the milk crate challenge in which people are asked to record themselves climbing pyramids of milk crates.

0.3 per cent of teens said they had taken part in a challenge they categorised as “very dangerous.” 56 per cent of parents said they would not mention a hoax unless a teen had mentioned it first, and 37 per cent of parents expressed concerns about discussing hoaxes with their kids and potentially raising more interest in them.

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