The social media platform can be a good place to learn useful things like the jean sizing hack or tasty recipes, but it also has a dark side. You may have heard of the controversial and frankly sexist character Andrew Tate, but the Blackout Challenge is another worrying trend you should be aware of.
The Blackout Challenge is a dangerous online trend that may have killed at least four kids so far this year. It is also thought to be what happened to Archie Battersbee, which is a very sad story.
Stephanie Lowe, Goodto.com’s Family Editor, tells us; “The scariest thing about this challenge is that it keeps popping up on social media. It began in 2008, so it’s been 14 years, and it keeps coming back for new people with the power to see. I think the most important thing for parents to do is to talk about it in an open way. Kids pay more attention to the conversations going on around them, so talk about it openly in front of them.”
What is the TikTok Blackout Challenge?
Users of TikTok are told to hold their breath until they pass out from lack of oxygen. This is called the “Blackout Challenge.” It’s also called the “choking challenge” and the “pass-out challenge.”
Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old boy who tried to do the challenge and got a serious brain injury, as a result, is just one of many kids whose lives and families have been ruined by it. People say that four kids younger than 12 have already died after trying to do the challenge.
TikTok learned the age, location, interests of a 10 year old girl.
Served her a “Blackout Challenge” video, which encourages users to strangle themselves.
She did that with a purse strap & dies.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) October 27, 2022
People think that kids want to try the challenge because it involves trying to choke oneself or another person on purpose in order to get a short “high.” But if strangulation goes on for a long time, death or serious injury can happen.
At What Point Did the Blackout Challenge First Appear?
The Blackout Challenge has been around since 2008 when it was first played as a choking game, but it has recently gained popularity thanks to its dissemination on TikTok, which has allowed it to reach a wider audience.
According to research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over eighty people have died as a result of participating in the trend.
“This horrific ‘challenge,’ which individuals seem to hear about from places other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend,” a TikTok representative told PEOPLE.
“We remain attentive in our commitment to user safety and will quickly remove such content if detected,” they continued.
Who Came Up With the Idea for the Blackout Challenge?
The inventor of the Blackout Challenge remains a mystery, but in 2016, a story circulated warning that the choking game was making a comeback to schoolyards via Youtube.
TikTok has subsequently removed all videos posted there showing anyone attempting the challenge, and anyone looking for footage of the horrible event will be met with a message saying that the term “Blackout Challenge” has been prohibited for breaking the site’s rules.
How to Have the Blackout Conversation With Your Kids?
Kirsty Ketley, a parenting specialist, says it’s important to have open conversations with your kids about peer pressure and the content they encounter online without passing judgment.
Among her claims are the following “This is particularly significant for preteens and teenagers, who are developing their sense of self and establishing their independence from their parents. It’s crucial for parents to maintain the lines of communication open with their children and to remind them to view everything they see on social media with a grain of salt.”
Additionally, she says: “Telling your children Archie Battersbee’s terrible story is a terrific way to kick off a discussion about this and similar obstacles. For most young people, hearing about the consequences in real life is enough to make them pause and consider the advice they are receiving on social media.”