Most kids (and some adults) think they are invincible. Which is why these viral challenges that pop on social media are so harmful. Our children would never believe that anything bad could happen to them. But unfortunately, many parents are now mourning the tragic loss of their children because of these stupid dares.
The ‘black out challenge’, otherwise known as the ‘pass out challenge’, ‘fainting challenge’ has been floating around social media for years. It is recently back in the spotlight after a 12-year old boy in the US endured three weeks of life support before he died.
The TikTok Challenge That Kills
Joshua Haileyesus was discovered unconscious earlier this year after attempting the TikTok challenge. His family believes the 12-year-old tied a shoelace around his neck to the point of choking in order to see how long he could hold his breath. His twin brother found him and tried to resuscitate him, as reported on the family’s GoFundMe page. However, he died after being on life support for 19 days.
“Unbeknownst to his parents, Joshua had been playing this dangerous game completely unaware of the risks involved,” the family wrote on the funding page.
“Our family is devastated beyond belief by Joshua’s circumstance. We are also concerned for other families who like ourselves may not be aware of the existence of the Blackout Challenge and others like it. … We urge the community to (spread) awareness about Joshua and the real risks involved in not having knowledge of what kinds of activities children are involved in.
It’s Happening In Our Schools
Closer to home, a Sydney school has issued a warning to parents saying that there have been “recent reports of a small number of students participating in a highly dangerous challenge.”
The recent notice in the Rose Bay Secondary School newsletter read:
“Often referred to as the ‘pass out challenge’, ‘fainting challenge’ or the ‘black out challenge’, whereby students hyperventilate and then have friends forcefully push on their chest as they stand against a wall.
“This can lead to students momentarily passing out. As you can imagine there is potential for very serious outcomes from such actions leading to injury, seizures, brain damage and in worse cases can prove fatal.”
The note continued to say that this worldwide ‘challenge’ is often shared via TikTok or Snapchat but in local schools, it is circulating via messages.
Parents need to realise that this is a serious matter and taking up this challenge could lead to death. The school has implored parents to “speak to your child about the seriousness of such behaviour and continue to regularly check their devices (mobile phone and laptop) for any inappropriate content.”
The school adds that only a few small number of students are participating in this activity and parents need to “consider this when discussing it with your child as we do not want to accidentally encourage more students to participate in this activity.”
What is the ‘Blackout Challenge’?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Blackout challenge involves “intentionally trying to choke oneself or another person in an effort to obtain a brief euphoric state or ‘high,'”
The ‘game’ has had many names in the past (choking game, fainting game, space monkey), but has recently appeared on TikTok as the “Blackout Challenge”.
In a study from 2008, it was determined that at least 82 children had died as a result of playing this dangerous game between 1995 and 2007. Most of the victims were boys between the ages of 11 and 16.
Dr. Victor Fornari, a director of psychiatry in the US spoke to TODAY saying:
“Anxious and depressed youth may be at greater risk because they may have more suicidal thoughts and may be less concerned about risk-taking behaviours.
“Parents need to be aware that this is a serious issue and perhaps have a serious conversation.”
Are you aware of your children participating in a dangerous TikTok challenge? What kind of conversations are you going to have with your kids about this? Tell us in the comments below.