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Parents are being warned about the new Blackout Challenge on TikTok that is on the rise among children and teenagers.
The social media platform can be a useful place to learn the jean sizing hack or delicious recipes but in addition to the TikTok safety feature that all parents need to know, the Blackout Challenge is an online trend that is proving to be dangerous, if not fatal, after it reportedly claimed the lives of four youngsters so far this year.
What is the Blackout Challenge on TikTok?
The Blackout Challenge on TikTok is where users are encouraged to hold their breath until they pass out due to a lack of oxygen. It can also be referred to as the “choking challenge” or the “pass-out challenge”.
According to PEOPLE, four children under the age of 12 have already died after attempting to copy the challenge.
It is thought that youngsters are keen to try the challenge as it involves intentionally trying to choke oneself or another in an effort to obtain a brief euphoric state or “high”. But death or serious injury can result if strangulation is prolonged.
When did the Blackout Challenge start?
The Blackout Challenge is not as new as you may think – it’s actually started back in 2008 as a choking game but it’s now doing the rounds on TikTok and therefore reaching an audience in a different mode.
Experts are warning young users not to try the trend, which has led to over 80 deaths in the past, per the study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A TikTok spokesperson told PEOPLE that “this disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend”.
“We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found,” they added.
Who is the Blackout Challenge creator?
It is not known who created Blackout Challenge, but WLWT reported on a teacher allowing the game to go around a school with pupils taking part and in 2016 a report circulated that warned about the choking game making a return to schoolyards via Youtube.
But any videos that have since been posted in TikTok of users trying to attempted the challenge has been blocked by TikTok, as those looking to watch the horrific challenge take place by searching Blackout Challenge receives a notice that the term has been banned for violating guidelines.
Signs that a child may be attempting the TikTok Blackout Challenge
Parents are warned to watch out for the signs that a child may be engaging in the choking game and these include:
- Discussion of the game – including other terms used for it, such as “pass–out game” or “space monkey”
- Bloodshot eyes
- Marks on the neck
- Severe headaches
- Disorientation after spending time alone
- Ropes, scarves, and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor
- Unexplained presence of things like dog leashes, choke collars and bungee cords
If you’ve been affected by this story, or whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time, from any phone on 116 123.