14-year-old dies after attempting Blackout challenge he’d seen on TikTok

Leon BrownLauryn Keating / Daily Record

In another tragic case of young people attempting the ‘Blackout Challenge’, a 14-year-old boy from the UK has died.

The Blackout Challenge involves restricting one’s breath for long enough to cause temporary unconsciousness. Of course, there are serious risks to such a challenge, that have proved fatal on numerous occasions.

Although the challenge has existed before TikTok, it spread rapidly on the platform, and has now been blocked entirely, with the #blackoutchallenge hashtag returning no results.

The latest incident resulted in the death of Leon Brown, 14, on August 25, found unresponsive in his room.

Brown’s mother, Lauryn Keating, is urging other parents to be aware of the trend and take precautions. She told the Daily Record that she believes Leon was attempting the challenge after seeing it on TikTok.

“My Leon thought he would be the one to try it first. Him and his friends probably thought it was a laugh and a joke.

“I had heard of this challenge, because of what happened to Archie Battersbee.” Archie Battersbee died in August, after falling unconscious in April and failing to regain consciousness. “But you just don’t expect your own child to do it. Please warn them, these online challenges aren’t worth their lives.”

Celtic strip signed for leon brownLauryn Keating / Daily Record
Tributes have been paid to Leon by his friends and family in Cumbernauld.

Tributes have been paid to Leon in his hometown of Cumbernauld, in Scotland. A strip of his favorite football team, Celtic, was adorned with loving messages from friends. There are calls for a minute of applause in the 14th minute of the Celtic vs Rangers match on Saturday, September 3.

TikTok is facing legal action in the United States from parents of children who attempted the Blackout Challenge.

“This disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend,” a TikTok spokesperson said in 2021.

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