The 12 year-old boy died on July 19 after attempting the TikTok blackout challenge. His name will not be released by the police. This is the fourth known death linked to the challenge.
Despite gaining prominence on TikTok, the challenge has been around for decades. It has many aliases, such as ‘The Choking Game’ and ‘Speed Dreaming.’ Studies show that between 1995 – 2007, 82 kids fatally injured themselves while attempting to copy it.
The aim of the game is to induce a state of ‘euphoria’ by almost-but-not-quite blacking out. It encourages children to constrict their breathing, triggering an adrenaline surge or ‘high.’ Each of the TikTok-linked fatalities have been under the age of 13.
Back in April, a Colorado-based boy died in exactly the same way, also 12 years old.
Now, on July 19, Oklahoma police have confirmed that another boy was found in his apartment on Monday night. He was hospitalized with neck injuries, but died soon after.
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The CDC claim that there are several ways to tell whether a loved one is engaging in the challenge. Warning signs include “bloodshot eyes”, “marks on the neck” and “severe headaches.”
Doctors warn that the challenge can cause “fainting” and “seizures.”
Parents speak out against the blackout challenge
As a result of the deaths, victims’ parents have been raising awareness of the deadly game. 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus died after 19 days on life support in April 2021. His father said he would “never” have attempted to harm himself in this way. “He was exposed to these ideas,” he said. “Kids especially don’t know how fragile they are.”
TikTok has since removed all videos under the ‘blackout challenge’ hashtag. They state that the videos may be associated with “behavior or content that violates our guidelines.”