What Is The Tiktok “Blackout Challenge” And Why Is It Harmful?
The “blackout challenge” is once again popular on social media as a result of two families suing TikTok for the deaths of their children.
The deadly challenge, which encourages participants to choke themselves until they pass out, has gained popularity on several social media platforms recently and has been connected to several child fatalities and major injuries.
Both the 9-year-old Milwaukee girl Arriani Jaileen Arroyo and the 8-year-old Temple, Texas, girl Lalani Erika Walton passed away in 2021.
The two girls “dead of self-strangulation after being offered with and encouraged to accept the “TikTok Blackout Challenge” on [the company’s] social media platform,” according to the wrongful death lawsuit, which was brought by their families and the Social Media Victims Law Center.
The Social Media Victims Law Center’s founder, Matthew Bergman, told ABC News that the goal of the civil process was “protecting kids.” Added him: “Let’s be clear: TikTok’s algorithms send kids to these challenges. This is not a mistake or an accident.”
The case was filed on July 5 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court of California.
TikTok and the Social Media Users Law Center have been approached by Newsweek for comment.
What Is the Blackout Challenge?
The blackout challenge often referred to as the “pass-out challenge” or “choking challenge,” among many other titles, urges participants to rob themselves of oxygen by using belts, ropes, or other similar objects.
It precedes social media apps; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued advisories about it as early as 2008; but, in 2020 and 2021, TikTok saw a resurgence in popularity.
The CDC projected in 2008 that 82 kids in the US have died while trying the challenge between 1995 and 2007.
The organization published a list of side effects and indications to watch out for parents and other people worried that someone they know might be doing the challenge. These comprise:
- Having red eyes
- neck tattoos
- severe headaches
- Behaving confused when alone
Why is Blackout Challenge Harmful?
The challenge has the potential to do serious injury, according to doctors from all over the world. General practitioner Dr. Nick Flynn of Cork, Ireland, discussed the risks in an interview with the Irish Examiner. According to him, the shortage of oxygen in the brain causes symptoms comparable to those of drowning, choking, or cardiac arrest.
“Brain damage can occur if there is low oxygen to the brain for longer than three minutes, and death can occur if there is low oxygen to the brain for longer than five minutes.”
Flynn also emphasized the risk of someone hurting themselves by falling down as they lose consciousness.
He advised parents to talk to their kids about these matters and to keep on guard.
TikTok’s Comments on the Blackout Challenge
The firm informed The Washington Post in May that this “disturbing ‘challenge,’ which individuals seem to hear about from sources other than TikTok,’ long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend,” after another grieving family sued TikTok and its parent company ByteDance.
According to the statement, TikTok would “stay attentive in our commitment to user safety and would quickly remove similar content if detected.” It also stated that users were prohibited from looking for the challenge via hashtags.