With many adults and kids being at home for work and school, people are on electronic devices more than ever.
For many, that means browsing social media even more as in-person communication has been severely limited.
If you’ve spent any time at all on these platforms, you’ve probably noticed how quickly challenges can go viral — but many of them are more prevalent among the younger age groups.
These “challenges” are rarely productive or beneficial and are repeats of “challenges” that used to take place in schoolyards and anywhere else bored kids congregate.
One such activity that has gone digital is the “blackout challenge,” where kids choke themselves until they pass out. There are many forms of the game, and it also goes by “the fainting game,” the “passout challenge,” “the game of choking,” “hangman” and “speed dreaming.”
A 10-year-old girl in Palermo, Italy, recently participated in the challenge that has become viral on TikTok, but she used a belt around her neck to choke herself and ended up passing away, according to the New York Post.
She was rushed to the hospital on Thursday, but arrived in cardiac arrest and doctors determined she was already brain dead.
Her parents have decided to donate her organs.
According to the Italian news outlet ANSA, “Experts have warned of the risks associated with the challenges, including fainting, seizures, brain damage, and even death.”
The CDC warned parents over a decade ago of this destructive “game,” noting that it had claimed many lives.
“In 2008, CDC reported 82 deaths attributed to the choking game and other strangulation activities during the period 1995–2007; most victims were adolescent males aged 11–16 years,” one of their reports read.
Obviously, choking yourself or others is dangerous and highly advised against, but this challenge continues to run rampant among some social media platform users.
In 2016, a mother from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, warned about the game, saying that it claimed the life of her 11-year-old son.
“If I could rewind time, I would go back and heavily monitor his use of social media, YouTube and the Internet,” she said, according to WYFF. “I would just say, I don’t believe young people should be on social media and it should be limited to adults, or at the very least, with extreme adult supervision — where the parents can see everything that takes place on the sites — should be a requirement.”
According to the Daily Mail, the “blackout challenge” is “currently considered to be one of the most trending challenges on TikTok.”
Other than being aware of your child’s online activity, authorities are urging TikTok users to report any cases of the challenge they may see to stem the spread of the activity and prevent other similar tragedies.
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