THE family of Grade 7 Effingham Primary School pupil, Revan Naiker, who died after allegedly copying a #sanitiserchallenge on TikTok, said their son did not have access to the social media platform
Durban – THE family of Grade 7 Effingham Primary School pupil, Revan Naiker, who died after allegedly copying a #sanitiserchallenge on TikTok, said their son did not have access to the social media platform.
On Friday rumours swirled online about the possible cause of death with the following message being shared: “This child’s death was a serious one. He was practicing what he saw on a tik tok video. Filled a bowl with sanitiser and lit it causing it to explode on him. He sustained severe burns and sadly passed on yesterday evening (Wednesday). Please talk to your kids about this.”
But on Friday, the Greenwood Park Sector 2 CPF, on behalf of the Naiker family, said: “We would like to request that people stop spreading misinformation regarding the untimely death of their beloved child, Revan Naiker, Grade 4 pupil at Effingham Primary School.
“With regards to the circumstances of his passing, Revan had lit sanitiser which caught fire to his shirt, resulting in burns to his upper body. Revan was rushed to hospital where he was treated to second and third degree burns and later discharged.
“He thereafter consulted with a wound treatment specialist every alternate day, however, fell ill on June 6 (Sunday). Once taken to hospital, he was diagnosed with septicemia which he sadly succumbed to on Wednesday June 9.
“At this point in time, the family would like to thank everyone for their support and also wish that everyone respect their privacy and allow them time to grieve.”
Revan’s funeral was to be held today.
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed on Friday that an inquest docket had been opened at Umbilo SAPS
According to Mbele, “a 12-year-old boy put the sanitiser liquid into a bowl and lit it up with matches and it caused flames.
“The boy got burnt and was rushed to hospital for medical attention,” she said, adding the child had died in hospital on Wednesday.
Effingham Heights ward councillor Bobby Maharajh said the community had rallied behind the family.
“The loss of such a young life is tragic, the parents need time to grieve and we must respect that. This is a very caring community, who have come forward to show their support for the family,” said Maharajh.
He said that all the facts around Revan’s passing were still to be verified.
“Kids will be kids, they are curious and will often try what they see without being aware of the danger. People are talking about this, which also raises awareness about the dangers of social media,” said Maharajh.
Effingham Heights Primary School sent a letter from the principal to parents asking them to “keep the family in your prayers during these difficult and troubled times. His (Revan) passing away is certainly going to leave behind a void that will be difficult to fill for family and friends”.
The letter was widely circulated on social media, particularly on WhatsApp community groups.
It appeared the information about the Tik Tok video was added to the school’s message by another party, likely as the WhatsApp message was being shared.
There is currently a #sanitiserchallenge on Tik Tok where sanitiser is lit in a saucer.
Social media law expert Emma Sadleir said parents needed to be aware of all social media platforms their children are using, adding that Tik Tok had an age restriction of 13 years.
“This week (in a clip) someone committed suicide (overseas) on Tik Tok,” she said, adding that the clip had been removed.
“But there is always a lapse in time between a video being generated and being red-flagged, when it will be taken down. In that time clips are still being shared.
“Children are not emotionally mature enough with regard to some videos and it (#santiserchallenge) should be a warning to parents. Children go to school and can be exposed to things on other children’s phones,” she said, adding that the best approach for parents to tackle social media danger was to educate themselves on the different platforms.
According to Sadleir, the rule of thumb for any social media platform is “The Billboard Test”.
“If you wouldn’t put the content on a huge billboard next to your name, your face and your school’s name, don’t let it exist anywhere in digital format,” she said, adding that the principle applies to adults as well.
Experts warn that sanitisers should always be used with caution.
Sanitisers vary in flammability, depending on what additives supplement the alcohol, which is usually 70% of the content and flammable, said Matshawandile Tukulula, a senior lecturer at the School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Dean of research and professor of organic chemistry, Neil Koorbanally added that sanitisers should always stay in a bottle because alcohol, which contains ethanol, has a low flashpoint and can easily ignite.
“People who use it in their cars should be careful,” he warned. “You never know how hot it can get inside a car. And one should definitely not ever play with igniting it.”
Koorbanally also stressed that sanitiser should be used with special care in kitchen areas.
“Putting it on one’s hands and then going to the stove could even cause one’s hands to catch alight,” he said.