A devastated Pennsylvania family is warning about the dangers of TikTok’s viral “blackout challenge” after their 10-year-old daughter died trying to complete the dare.
The challenge — in which a participant holds their breath until they pass out — predates social media, but it’s experienced a resurgence on TikTok, with contenders racking up millions of views by recording themselves in a bid to gain viral fame.
Nyla Anderson, 10, was found unconscious in the bedroom of her Chester home last Sunday after allegedly trying to partake in the dangerous challenge. She was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“Make sure you check your kids’ phones,” her distraught mom, Tawainna Anderson, told ABC 7.
“You never know what you might find on their phones,” she said, fighting back tears. “You wouldn’t think 10-year-olds would try this. They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know better.”
Anderson is reported to be at least the fifth child to die while participating in the “blackout challenge” this year alone.
Back in June, 9-year-old LaTerius Smith Jr. was discovered unconscious in his family’s Tennessee home. He later died in hospital, with his family subsequently blaming TikTok for the tragedy.
The same month, a 12-year-old child died while purportedly recording themselves doing the dare in Oklahoma.
In March, Colorado tween Joshua Haileyesus, 12, was found passed out in the bathroom of his home after undertaking the “blackout challenge.” He died in the hospital three weeks later.
And in January, a 10-year-old Italian girl was discovered dead in a bathroom by her younger sister. Her cellphone was nearby. It was reported that she, too, was trying to partake in the viral trend.
TikTok says it has taken measures to stop users sharing from dangerous footage. A search of “blackout challenge” on the social media app results in a message that reads: “Learn how to recognize harmful challenges and hoaxes.”
The company allows users to report any videos which may pertain to the challenge. The Post has reached out to TikTok for an official statement on the child deaths.
According to multiple reports, the “blackout challenge” was a popular trend in the 1990s — long before the existence of social media. At the time, it was labelled “the choke challenge” or “the fainting game,” although the concept was identical.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a staggering 82 “probable choke challenge deaths” among people aged 6 to 19 in the years between 1995 and 2007.
Back then, the challenge spread by word of mouth, but the existence of social media now poses new dangers. Insider reports that the challenges are able to spread more quickly and across continents due to the technology.
The family of Nyla Anderson are now warning parents to keep a close eye on their children’s cellphones, saying they had no idea their daughter would be interested in partaking in the “blackout challenge.”
“She was everything. She was a happy child,” Anderson’s mom said. “This is a pain that won’t go away. It’s at the top of my throat. I am so hurt.”