A Pennsylvania mother is warning other parents to be vigilant about monitoring their children’s social media use after she says her daughter died attempting the “Blackout Challenge.”
Nyla Anderson’s family found her unconscious in her bedroom in Chester, Pennsylvania, earlier this month. Family members rushed the 10-year-old to the hospital but she was pronounced dead soon after arriving.
During the “Blackout Challenge” participants perform some kind of auto-asphyxiation until they pass out. The challenge dates back prior to TikTok but the app has fueled a resurgence of the challenge. Users gain millions of views recording themselves taking part in challenges on TikTok.
Nyla is the fifth child to die attempting the challenge this year. Oxygen deprivation can cause cardiac arrest, organ and brain damage or death.
In March, 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus died after spending 19 days in a Colorado hospital His family believes he accidentally choked himself with shoelaces while attempting the challenge.
“She was a butterfly,” Nyla’s mother, Tawainna Anderson, told ABC7. “She was everything. She was a happy child.”
“Make sure you check your kids’ phones,” Anderson added. “You never know what you might find on their phones. You wouldn’t think 10-year-olds would try this. They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know better.”
Elizabeth Wood, a licensed clinical social worker at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware where Nyla recieved treatment, told “Today” that the girl has a history of viewing the challenge on social media.
There are multiple variations of the challenge, which sometimes includes the use of something to cause choking or strangulation to stop the flow of oxygen.
Videos of people participating in the challenge on TikTok have been removed. A search for the term “Blackout Challenge” on the app does not yield results.
The social platform told The New York Post in a statement, “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.”
The statement continued, “We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.”
Nyla’s family is mourning over the child’s sudden death.
“She was everything. She was a happy child,” Anderson’s mom said. “This is a pain that won’t go away. It’s at the top of my throat. I am so hurt.”
The “Blackout Challenge” is not the first dangerous trend to be associated with TikTok. Viral videos of people stacking milk crates and walking across them spread rapidly on the app in August before the platform banned the challenge.
After people were hospitalized with serious injuries after attempting the challenge, doctors warned against taking part in the challenge.
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