9-Year-Old Boy Dies While Attempting TikTok Challenge

Asia's Tech News Daily

A 9-year-old boy has died while attempting a dangerous TikTok challenge.

9-Year-Old Boy Dies While Attempting TikTok Challenge
© KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty A picture of TikTok’s logo on a smartphone screen – an unattended minor reportedly died while attempting a popular challenge on the social media app

Fox5 in San Diego reported that the boy, named only as Matias, had been trying the “blackout challenge” at his home in Tijuana, Mexico.

According to the website PopBuzz, participants are dared to restrict their airflow “until they lose consciousness.”

The challenge has gained traction on TikTok but it predates social media, the website added. Children now tend to discover it online, where previously they might have heard about it from friends.

Matias was discovered by a neighbor hanging from a tree. Police told Fox5 that the boy had wrapped a garden house around his neck.

One woman told the news outlet: “When I got there he was already on the ground, I gave him first aid and could barely feel a heartbeat. When police and paramedics got there he was unresponsive.”

A friend of the victim confirmed to the authorities that Matias had been attempting the blackout challenge after seeing it on a viral video. The boy’s mother was at work at the time and he was unattended.

Medical professionals have been warning about the dangers of the challenge, which is also known as “the fainting game”, “speed dreaming” and “the passout challenge,” for many years. Several children have died attempting it since the start of 2021.

In March, Joshua Haileyesus, a 12-year-old from Aurora in Colorado, was discovered unconscious after reportedly trying it. He spent 19 days on life support before dying.

In January, a 10-year-old girl in Italy died after attempting the challenge using a belt, having reportedly seen a video of someone doing it on TikTok. The child, who was from Palermo in Sicily, was taken to hospital in cardiac arrest, where she was declared brain dead.

In 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report revealing that at least 82 young people had died as a result of the “choking game” between 1995 and 2007.

Of this number, 87 percent were males and the majority were aged 11 to 16. The study identified deaths in 31 different states.

A CDC press release about the report added: “The researchers said the study probably underestimates the number of deaths.”

A petition launched by the non-profit group ParentsTogether has called on TikTok to create “mirror accounts” that would allow parents to monitor what their children are watching.

“These mirror accounts would allow parents to intervene in dangerous situations and talk to their children about harmful content, like extreme dieting, life-threatening behavior and white supremacist material,” the petition states.

In a previous statement to Newsweek, TikTok said: “We do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous behavior that might lead to injury, and our teams work diligently to identify and remove content that violates our policies.”

Users are also encouraged to report any dangerous content they see on the platform.

Newsweek has contacted TikTok for comment.

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