A 12-year-old boy from Oklahoma is the latest child to die after taking part in the so-called “blackout challenge” which has circulated on TikTok.
The highly dangerous trend, which doctors have warned can cause seizures and death, encourages individuals to film themselves holding their breath or choking themselves until they lose consciousness.
On Monday, police were called to an apartment complex in the state where the boy, who has not been named, was reportedly found with ligature marks on his neck.
Detectives were told by family members that the incident was not an attempt at suicide, but at the “blackout challenge”, according to local media.
The boy was taken to the University of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital for treatment, but died shortly before 7am on Tuesday, police said.
In a statement, Bethany Police sent their condolences to the family and confirmed that their investigation into the death is ongoing.
“We would like to warn parents to stay involved with their children and take the time to look what they are doing on social media. Now more than ever due to the lockdowns, kids are bored and looking to occupy their time.
“Social media is a very influential part of a child’s life and should be heavily scrutinied by parents,” Lt. Angelo Orefice said.
Tragically, this isn’t the first time a young person has lost their life after attempting the challenge.
In January, a 10-year-old girl from Italy was declared brain-dead after taking on the dare. She arrived at the hospital in cardiac arrest, with ANSA reporting that the parents gave approval for their child’s organs to be donated.
Another 12-year-old boy was left brain dead in March when he took part in the challenge, with his family turning off life support in April.
The family of Joshua Haileyesus, from Colorado, wrote on a GoFundMe page: “We would like to update everyone that this evening, after fighting the good fight on life support for 19 days, Joshua has gone off to be with the Lord.”
Last month, the trend allegedly claimed the life of a Massachusetts teenager, named as student Nate Squires.
“On June 12th, Nate was found unresponsive at home after attempting to do what is known on social media platforms as the ‘blackout challenge,” relative Samantha Thomas wrote on a GoFundMe page.
She added that his parents Rachel and Dave “want the world to know of the circumstances that surround Nate’s death to ensure that this does not happen to another family.”
In a statement issued following the death of Haileyesus, TikTok said they have “no higher priority than protecting the safety” of their users.
“Content that promotes or glorifies dangerous behavior is strictly prohibited and promptly removed to prevent it from becoming a trend on our platform,” they said.