The “blackout challenge”, which involves participants recording themselves holding their breath until they pass out, has recently experienced a resurgence on TikTok
A heartbroken mum has issued a warning of the dangers of a viral TikTok challenge, after her 10-year-old daughter died attempting to complete the dare.
The “blackout challenge”, which involves participants recording themselves holding their breath until they pass out, is believed to predate social media, but has recently experienced a resurgence on TikTok.
Videos of the challenge have now been deleted from the platform, as TikTok aims to combat the trend.
Nyla Anderson, 10, passed out in the bedroom of her Chester, Pennsylvania, home last Sunday after allegedly partaking in the dangerous trend. Her family rushed her to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Her distraught mum, Tawainna Anderson, is now urging parents to check their kids’ phones, as you “never know what you might find”.
“She was everything. She was a happy child,” Anderson’s mum said. “This is a pain that won’t go away. It’s at the top of my throat. I am so hurt.”
Speaking to ABC 7, she said: “You wouldn’t think 10-year-olds would try this
“They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know better.”
A TikTok spokesperson told The New York Post that the “disturbing challenge” long predates the video platform and has never been a TikTok trend.
“We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss,” they added.
Nyla is reportedly at least the fifth child to have died while participating in the “blackout challenge” this year alone.
LaTerius Smith Jr., who is just nine years old, was discovered unconscious in his family’s Tennessee home back in June.
He later died at a hospital, with his family then blaming TikTok for his death.
A 12-year-old Oklahoma child also died in June while allegedly recording themselves doing the dare.
Back in March, Colorado boy Joshua Haileyesus was found unconscious in the bathroom of his home, after undertaking the “blackout challenge”.
Just three weeks later, he died in hospital
And in January, a 10-year-old Italian girl was found dead in a bathroom by her younger sister, with her phone lying nearby. It was thought that she had also attempted the viral trend.
TikTok has said it has put measures in place to prevent users from sharing dangerous footage.
Searching “blackout challenge” on the social media app now brings up a message that reads: “Learn how to recognize harmful challenges and hoaxes.”
In addition to this, users have the ability to report any videos that may pertain to the challenge.
AFP via Getty Images)
Experts have warned of the risks associated with the challenge, including fainting, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner when the challenge first circulated on Snapchat in 2014, Dr Nick Flynn, a GP in Cork, said: “The kids are introducing themselves into an uncontrolled environment. It’s very risky.
“In performing the pass-out challenge they are mimicking suffocation. They are stopping the chest muscle from moving, which stops the chest from working and you can’t get oxygen to the brain. The brain is then starved of oxygen and the person loses consciousness.
“What is actually going on in the brain is a lack of oxygen similar to when someone is drowning, choking or having a cardiac arrest. It causes brain hypoxia or low levels of oxygen in the brain and that can cause seizures and death.”
The “blackout challenge”, also known as “the choke challenge” or “the fainting game,” was reportedly a popular trend in the 1990s, long before social media was around.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a shocking 82 “probable choke challenge deaths” among children and teenagers aged 6 to 19 in the years between 1995 and 2007.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.