Parents beware! TikTok’s 'Blackout Challenge' is the app’s deadly new trend

Parents beware! TikTok’s 'Blackout Challenge' is the app’s deadly new trend

Parents are asked to be vigilant regarding the content their kids are uploading to the app.

TikTok phone
Source: Pixabay

TikTok has become one of the biggest social media sites in the world. The app allows users to share short form videos and has become a space to share new recipes, dance challenges, interesting stories, and so much more.

However, there are some trends which have proven to be dangerous. The #BlackoutChallenge is one of these – and kids around the world are taking part.

TIME reveals that the challenge isn’t entirely new and originated in 2018 as the 'Pass Out Challenge' on YouTube. Now, the #BlackoutChallenge has made its unwelcome return – and the new rendition is a much more dangerous and deadlier version which has raised concerns with parents of children who have access to the app.

According to screenrant, the #BlackoutChallenge is designed to be dangerous so that users can see how their body reacts. The challenge encourages users to choke themselves to the point of losing consciousness by restricting their airflow. The results are then uploaded to TikTok and, the more users are uploading them, the more they’re being seen around the world. 

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In January this year, Newsweek reported that a 10-year-old girl in Italy had died after attempting to do the challenge and parents have been urged to be vigilant regarding what kind of content their kids are uploading to the app. The child reportedly tied a belt around her neck as part of the challenge and passed out without having enough time to release the belt from her neck.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the girl's family and friends. We do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous behaviour that might lead to injury, and our teams work diligently to identify and remove content that violates our policies,” TikTok said in a statement earlier this year. "While we have not currently found evidence of content on our platform that might have encouraged such an incident off-platform, we will continue to monitor closely as part of our continuous commitment to keep our community safe. We will also assist the relevant authorities with their investigation as appropriate." 

The latest fatality was a 12-year-old boy from Colorado in the United States. Reports reveal that Joshua Haileyesus had been on life support in hospital for three weeks before succumbing to the damage inflicted by the challenge.

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Experts reveal peer pressure is convincing children to take part in these dangerous challenges online. "Kids are biologically built to become much more susceptible to peers in adolescence, and social media has magnified those peer influence processes to be much, much more dangerous than they were before," Mitchell Prinstein, chief science officer at the American Psychological Association, told USA Today.

Meanwhile, Cape Town-based clinical psychologist Rafiq Lockhat also gave some context as to why these dangerous challenges go viral.

"You don't need to do anything special to become popular. This proves that a) anyone can do this and b) you can instantly become famous if you have a thousand likes,“ he said. “It's a novelty that's become ingrained into a teen's mind. He's of the opinion that there's a real risk that the video that gets the most hits is the one where someone will get hurt. The consequences are irrelevant. Many young people are vulnerable to this."

Image courtesy: Pixabay

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