Lalani Erika Renee Walton, Arriani Jaileen Arroyo, Nylah Anderson, and Archie Battersbee. Those are the names of the lives claimed by the infamous “Blackout Challenge”.
Archie Battersbee, who was kept on life support from April, passed away on the 6th of April. Allegedly having participated in the challenge, the 12-year-old choked, falling into a coma.
Lalani Jaileen Erika Renee Walton died on the 15th of July 2021 in her home in Texas. Her death ruled a “direct result of attempting TikTok’s ‘blackout challenge,’.
Arriani Jaileen Arroyo passed away on the 26th of February 2021. Found by her 5-year-old brother unconscious she met the same fatal end.
The family of Nylah Anderson sued TikTok for negligence in May, alleging the “Choking Challenge” was “thrust in front” of Nylah.
“I’m so hurt,” Nyla’s mother says to PEOPLE. “This is a pain that won’t go away. It’s at the top of my throat. I am so hurt.”
The parents of Lalani and Arriani followed suit. They deemed the TikTok algorithm to be “dangerous”, continuously pushing the challenge into their feed, “intentionally and repeatedly”.
Four children under the age of twelve have passed away so far, the youngest having been only eight. Thus, are we able to control the TikTok algorithm with full capacity? The parental control can be activated, but the uncertainty lies in an inability to check through every video.
What is the ‘Blackout Challenge”?
Also coined as the “Choking Challenge”, the user or participant is incentivized to hold their breath until they fall unconscious due to a lack of oxygen. According to the CDC or the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the challenge was not new and had been popular since 2008. A study in connection with the challenge found a death rate of 82 youngsters over the span of 14 years.
A TikTok spokesperson told PEOPLE, “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.”
While the challenge was not first introduced in TikTok, it has gone beyond just holding your breath. Arriani was found by her father, “hanging from the family’s dog leash.”
Fortunately, any videos and users seeking to post on TikTok have been banned and blocked. Now, any viewers wanting to access such content has been notified of the violation to guidelines.
How to Spot the Signs?
- Mention of the Challenge: Can be referred to as the “Pass out Game” or “Space Monkey”.
- Severe headaches or Bloodshot eyes
- Confusion, disorientation, or a foggy memory
- Possession of unusual items such as dog leashes or ropes
If you see a child watching videos of that nature on TikTok or Youtube, be sure to report it immediately. Furthermore, seek the appropriate measures to inform the child of the nature of these videos.
Parents of Arriani remind family members, “to remain vigilant about what your children are being exposed to while using social media apps such as TikTok.”
Want to cut down on your TikTok screen time? Find out here!