TikTok is under fire for an online dare dubbed the “blackout challenge” that has been linked to several child deaths. The social media stunt encourages young people to hold their breath until they pass out.
Joshua Haileyesus, a 12-year-old from Aurora, Colorado, was found unconscious in his home on March 22 and was put on life support in the hospital. He died 19 days later. His family believes the young boy accidentally choked himself with a shoelace while attempting the blackout challenge viewed on TikTok, the video-sharing app known for its dance snippets and other viral videos.
Haileyesus’s death follows several other child fatalities linked to the blackout challenge. As a result, advocates are now urging TikTok to improve its parental monitoring features.