The platform is reportedly trying to completely remove the clip, but users continue to upload it—and since TikTok shows users videos from people they don't follow, here's what to look for if you're scrolling with kids.

September 08, 2020
TikTok App Logo on Cell Phone
Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Getty Images (1)
| Credit: Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Getty Images (1)

As many parents know, TikTok is hugely popular with kids and teens. And as we also know, the platform features quick video clips that fill our screens without much warning—which can make it tough for parents to filter what their kids see and hear on the app. But, as it turns out, we can add one more concern surrounding the app to our growing list: Right now there's a suicide video making the rounds.

This particular video reportedly originated as a Facebook live stream and shows Army vet Ronnie McNutt sitting at a desk in his home. According to reports, McNutt shoots himself on camera. By all accounts, the scene is extremely gruesome and disturbing. While Facebook removed the video (and has reportedly utilized automation technology to take down copies that are posted as well), TikTok users are continuing to come across the deeply traumatizing clip.

TikTok is attempting to remove the clip in question, but wiping it from the platform is proving to be a difficult task, as users keep re-uploading and sharing the video. According to a report from BBC, the team behind TikTok will ban users who repeatedly share the video—but as we all know, videos pop up so quickly, and they can be viewed just as quickly. And in just a few seconds, a clip as graphic and intense as this could easily traumatize our children.

A report from BBC tells the story of a 14-year-old girl who came running for her mother after viewing the video. "She was in such a state, shaking like a leaf and properly sobbing," the teen's mother, Brenda, tells BBC. "I have never seen her that distressed. It was horrific and took ages to get the words out of her...My daughter was in a state of shock, still is in a state of shock and this could stay with her for months."

That's why parents everywhere need to be aware of the clip's presence on TikTok: If we know to look out for it, we may be able to quickly shut down the app before our kids can watch it in its entirety. This specific video begins with a bearded man behind a desk against a white wall.

So what can we take away from this horrific video's persistent presence on social media? Well, for one thing, this serves as an important reminder that we ought to be aware of what our children see when they use devices—because sometimes, horrific things appear on social media, things that can affect them for a long time. It may also be in our best interests as parents to preemptively discuss tough topics like suicide with our kids. Because if this is any indication, it's incredibly hard to truly police what our kids can access online.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, visit or text "START" to 741-741 to immediately speak to a trained counselor at Crisis Text Line.