TikTok is not any stranger to viral trends. From blending whey protein and coffee and exercises for improving your sex game to meme-able ways to speak about vaccinations, the “blackout challenge” is merely the latest someone to hit the platformexcept that one could harm users and also result in death.
The “blackout challenge” ‘s been around since at the very least 2008, in accordance with People, nonetheless it started making the rounds on TikTok again back 2021. Experts have warned young users never to try the trend, that was linked to a lot more than 80 deaths when it first emerged, per the CDC.
Still, parents are struggling to remain together with all of the challenges that find yourself on the children’s screens. And several of these are embracing TikTok for answers, like the category of 9-year-old Arriani Arroyo.
Arriani was found dead in February of 2021 after taking part in the blackout challenge, and her parents are filing case against TikTok hoping of keeping other kids safe and avoiding another death, based on the family’s attorney Matthew Bergman, per Wisconsin radio station WTMJ.
However the deaths have continued. In early August of 2022, 12-year-old Archie Battersbee died in the united kingdom after apparently using the challenge and spending months on life support. And some weeks later, on August 25, Lauryn Keating found her 14-year-old son, Leon Brown, unresponsive within their home in Scotland after an apparent “blackout challenge” attempt, in accordance with The Daily Record, a Scottish news site.
It’s unclear whether Leon’s family will file case at the moment, but the social media marketing giant already includes a few related cases on the hands. Continue reading for all your details behind the deadly challenge and another lawsuits that TikTok is facing.
What’s the Blackout Challenge?
Generally known as the choking challenge or the pass-out challenge, the blackout challenge encourages users to carry their breath until they distribute because of insufficient oxygen.
What’s actually going on in the mind is a insufficient oxygen much like when someone is drowning, choking, or having a cardiac arrest, Dr. Nick Flynn told the Irish Examiner. Should you have low oxygen to the mind for over 3 minutes you can obtain brain damage and when you have low oxygen to the mind for over 5 minutes it can bring about death.
What exactly are signs that someone is wanting the Blackout Challenge?
The CDC also released a listing of signs that may indicate someone is wanting the “blackout challenge,” including:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Marks on the neck
- Severe headaches
- Feeling disoriented after hanging out alone
“Because most parents in the analysis had not heard about the choking game, hopefully to raise knowing of the choking game among parents, healthcare providers, and educators, to allow them to recognize indicators of the experience,” said Robin L. Toblin, PhD, MPH, based on the CDC. “That is especially important because children themselves might not appreciate the dangers of the activity.”
A TikTok spokesperson told People that “this disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people appear to find out about from sources apart from TikTok, long predates our platform and contains never been a TikTok trend.”
“We remain vigilant inside our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found,” they added.
TikTok is facing other blackout-related lawsuits.
In December, 10-year-old Nylah Anderson choked to death after accidentally hanging herself in her closet, per The Washington Post. When she was found, she was rushed to a healthcare facility. Doctors tried to regenerate her, however they were too late. A forensic analysis of the young girl’s phone showed that she was using TikTok to view blackout challenge videos right before she died.
IN-MAY 2022, her mother, Tawainna Anderson, sued the favorite app for wrongful death in the U.S. District Court in Eastern Pennsylvania, per The Washington Post. Her suit claims that TikTok is “programming children with regard to corporate profits and promoting addiction, while being truly a predatory and manipulative app that pushes “exceedingly and unacceptably dangerous challenges.”
In July, lawsuits surrounding the death of Lalani Erika Walton, 8, and Arriani Arroyo, were filed, per Insider. The lawsuits, which claim wrongful death and indicate the TikTok challenge, were filed in LA County Superior Court.
Both children were found hanging, having choked to death after attempting the challenges. (The authorities had examined Lalani’s phone and tablet and discovered that she have been watching blackout challenge videos.)
Although TikTok has previously denied that the task is associated with the platform, because it existed as “the choking game” prior to the app, the SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Victims Law Centers complaint said that TikTok “unquestionably knew” that the task was going viral around their app and they must have known that failing woefully to take immediate and significant action to extinguish the spread of the deadly Blackout Challenge would bring about more injuries and deaths, especially among children,” per The LA Times.
TikTok has blocked #BlackoutChallenge from its internet search engine, per The Washington Post.
Leon Brown, 14, may be the latest ‘Blackout Challenge’ victim.
Leon’s friends told Keating that Leon had seen the task on TikTok, and achieved it over FaceTime using them, The Daily Record reported.
“Him and his friends probably thought it had been fun and a tale. But Leon didn’t keep coming back around. It went horribly wrong,” said Keating, per The Daily Mail UK. “I had heard about this challenge, due to what happened to Archie [Battersbee]. Nevertheless, you don’t expect your personal child to accomplish it…these online challenges aren’t worth their lives. They aren’t worth ‘likes’ or whatever they’re carrying it out for.”
A TikTok spokesperson told the outlet that the business’s “deepest sympathies venture out to Leon Brown’s family in this incredibly difficult time. The safety of our community is our priority and we take any claim in regards to a dangerous challenge very seriously.” The platform also said it has measures set up to avoid the sharing of the videos and takes users to a safety center should they search the word.
Archie Battersbee also fell victim to the task.
In early August, 12-year-old Archie Battersbee died after spending almost a year on life support at Royal London Hospital in britain. Archie’s mother initially found him unconscious back April of 2022, and his parents believe their son was getting involved in the blackout challenge after doctors shared he was probably “brain-stem dead,” per BBC.
Although Archie’s family didn’t sue TikTok, they spent almost a year battling the European Court of Human Rights to help keep Archie on life support.
Throughout their last attempts, Archie’s family reached out to the US to greatly help convince the High Court for an extension. However, the order for his life support to be removed remained, and he passed on, per CNN. The court said that the life-sustaining efforts were “futile” at that time, in accordance with The Daily Beast.
While working through the legal system to help keep their son alive, Archie’s parents had also requested he be moved to a hospice center where he could die peacefully. Justice Theis of the High Court denied the household permission, noting that between Archie’s condition and the higher level of risk involved, Archie should stay in a healthcare facility until treatment was withdrawn, per BBC.
“I’m the proudest mom on the planet. This type of beautiful little boy, and he fought until the end,” Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, told reporters, per CNN.
“There’s nothing at all dignified about watching a member of family or perhaps a child suffocate. No family should ever need to proceed through what we have been through it’s barbaric,” added Ella Carter, a family group friend who joined Dance at the press briefing following Archie’s death.
Other deaths have stemmed from the task.
Unfortunately, Archie, Nylah, Lalani, and Arriani aren’t the only real children to die while attempting this challenge. Four other children aged 14 and under also have died from attempting to mimic the videosall which are mentioned in Nylah’s lawsuit, per The Washington Post.
In a warning to other parents, Anderson said, “Be sure you check your kids’ phones,” she told ABC Action News. “You won’t ever know what you will probably find on the phones. You wouldn’t think 10-year-olds would try out this. They’re trying because they’re kids, plus they have no idea better.”
Addison Aloian (she/her) can be an editorial assistant at Womens Health. When shes not authoring everything pop culture, health, beauty, and fashion, she loves hitting leg trip to the fitness center, shopping at Trader Joes, and watching whichever hockey game is on TV. Her work in addition has appeared in Allure, StyleCaster, LOfficiel USA, V Magazine, and Modern Luxury Media.
Sabrina can be an editorial assistant for Womens Health. When shes not writing, you can get her running, trained in mixed fighting techinques, or reading.