Social media platforms are the sources of endless entertainment for children today. However, not all content is safe for such vulnerable users. Circulating freely on social sites among the popular videos are dangerous challenges such as “the milk crate challenge,” where a person will climb up an unstable stack of plastic milk crates, and the “Tide pod challenge,” where they encourage a person to eat toxic laundry detergent pods and show their reaction. Such daring actions are deemed entertaining and rewarded with thousands of likes and views, which is why young children are drawn to them.
Recently, the news has been abuzz with the wrongful deaths of underage users due to the “blackout challenge” videos. A 10-year-old girl from Pennsylvania and a 12-year-old boy from Ohio are just a couple of the growing number of new victims of this social media trend.
TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, are being sued by the parents of the children who have fallen victim to this dangerous game. But the social company can only offer their deepest sympathies and the promise to filter and ban such harmful content on their online platforms in the future.
If you want to know more about what is the blackout challenge on social media and why it’s so dangerous, then read on. We will provide you with essential knowledge so you can detect whether your child is trying it out.
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What Is the Blackout Challenge on Social Networks?
The blackout challenge video circulating on TikTok is a choking game that encourages participants to hold their breath until they pass out. It instructs the person to wrap a rope around their neck and tie it to the doorknob or their bed to stop them from breathing.
The act is supposed to cause the individual to experience a sense of euphoria or “high” before they pass out. Then after waking up, they are supposed to upload a video of their whole experience on the social media app.
In the past year, there have already been a handful of reports from parents finding their child lifeless in their room all because of this deadly game.
How Did This Challenge Begin?
Unfortunately, this is not the first wave of tragic incidents brought on by this morbid challenge. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 82 deaths have already been reported from 1995 to 2008. The victims’ ages ranged from 11 to 16 years old, and the reports came from 31 states. It is a widespread dangerous trend that has claimed young victims since way back.
With the recent resurgence of the social media challenge on one of the most popular social sites to the younger generation, it is once again taking the lives of innocent children.
Why Is the Blackout Challenge So Dangerous?
Any type of choking activity is harmful to a person. Whatever the intentions or promises are for depriving a person of oxygen, the fact remains that there is nothing but the danger that lies ahead.
In the blackout challenge, the participants will choke themselves until they pass out. Just before blacking out, it is said that the person will feel ecstasy or a high. This out-of-the-ordinary experience is what lures social media users to try out this challenge.
The feeling akin to euphoria is a result of the brain starving for oxygen. As the person stops breathing, the lack of oxygen will cause them to experience lightheadedness that may be comparable to a “high.” Doctors say that this situation happens within 3 minutes of asphyxiation. Then after 5 minutes or so of oxygen deprivation, the person is already at risk of experiencing permanent brain damage and even death. And this is what often happens when the person does the challenge alone.
What makes these viral challenges even more dangerous is the fact that the videos are freely circulating on social media and are packaged as trends that people should do. Children are especially susceptible since they want to experience and do what famous people are doing. Their young minds will not question the safety and possible consequences of doing such online challenges.
Signs That Someone Is Trying the Blackout Challenge
Since children are not yet able to identify the dangers lurking on the internet, it is up to the parents and adults to look after them. Here is a list of signs you should look out for in a child who might be trying out the blackout challenge:
- Having bloodshot eyes
- Experiencing severe headaches
- Acting disoriented just after spending time alone
- Having marks on their neck
- The presence of a rope, scarf, or belt tied to the doorknob or furniture
- Unexplained presence of choke collars, dog leashes, or bungee ropes in their room/belongings
- Discussions about the blackout challenge (other terms referring to it are the “pass–out game”, “space monkey”, or “choking challenge”)
The social media company can only do so much in filtering dangerous videos and harmful content. It is still up to adults to keep kids safe from harm, especially on social media. Now that you know “what is the blackout challenge,” you can talk to your child and explain to them the consequences if they try the social media trend. Also, be on the lookout for the latest trends so you can warn your child about the dangerous ones that they should not imitate, as well.
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