A 12-year-old boy from Oklahoma has died after participating in a dangerous TikTok challenge.
Shortly after midnight on Monday, July 19, officers were called to a Bethany apartment complex, where they found the boy to be unresponsive, reportedly with ligature marks around his neck.
The boy, who has not been named, was taken to the University of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, where he tragically died the following day.
As reported by News 9, family members informed detectives the boy hadn’t attempted suicide, and had in fact been participating in the so-called ‘blackout challenge’, a dangerous new trend that has swept TikTok.
When attempting this challenge, people deliberately choke themselves until the point where they nearly lose consciousness, before uploading the footage to TikTok.
Doctors have previously stressed the risks of participating in this potentially fatal challenge, which can result in fainting, seizures and brain damage.
Sadly, this boy isn’t the first young person to die after attempting the challenge, as reported by The Sun. 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus from Colorado died in April 2021, while 14-year-old James Boyd-Gergely died last summer at his home in the Southern Tablelands, New South Wales.
Bethany police Lt. Angelo Orefice has given the following statement about this most recent death, as per News 9:
The loss of a loved one is very traumatic to all and our condolences go out to the family. 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 scrutinized by parents.
An investigation into the boy’s death is understood to be ongoing.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.