Police are investigating the death of a nine-year-old child who attempted a “challenge” on social media site TikTok, only to be found dead hours later by his relatives.
Emmanuel Poteon was discovered by his grandmother at their Maloney Gardens home on Monday evening two hours after she noticed he was missing.
According to police, around 2 pm on Monday, Emmanuel’s grandmother raised an alarm about his whereabouts.
Searches of the street where he lived and the house were done but it would take the family three hours to find him in a bathroom in the home’s guest bedroom.
Guardian Media visited the home yesterday but relatives declined to speak, saying they are too distraught by the loss.
One of Emmanuel’s neighbours, Roy Oliver, said the child’s death shattered the community.
“Everybody shocked, I saw him up to Sunday, evening, he went by the neighbour for two mango, he pass back and ask “How you going?” I say I alright…that thing mash-up around here yes, if you see the little boy how nice,” Oliver said.
Emmanuel was a Standard Three pupil of the Caroni Hindu School.
In an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Acting Secretary-General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Vijay Maharaj said children are under pressure and he has seen its effects first hand. He said schools need to be reopened.
“He (Emmanuel) was one of our children. Children are becoming paranoid at home, they are under a tremendous amount of pressure,” Maharaj said.
He said authorities need to pay closer attention to the mental health of children.
Meanwhile, the Children’s Authority issued a release yesterday, calling for parents and guardians to pay closer attention to the popular trends on social media that can be harmful to their children.
The authority said parents should also hold regular conversations with their children on the importance of not taking part or imitating social media trends or challenges because of the dangers they might be in.
In an interview with Guardia Media yesterday, Cyber Security Evangelist, Darren Dhoray said social media challenges have been around for several years.
He urged parents to be mindful of the age restrictions on social media platforms—saying those were put in place to protect young, naive users.