There’s always some sense of fear as a parent when you hand your child a phone and give them the keys to the world wide web. The internet is vast, filled with predators and ridiculous challenges that children can’t help but participate in. After all, their friends are doing it, and who wouldn’t want to rack up some views in the process?
Unfortunately, the consequences of these social media trends can be devastating, as the family of one 12-year-old boy from Bethany, Oklahoma found out. According to USA Today, the boy died this week after participating in a dangerous challenge currently making the rounds on the social media platform TikTok.
The “blackout ” challenge encourages users to choke themselves until they pass out, however, this is a phenomenon that predates TikTok, reports Business Insider. In a statement issued by Bethany Police Department, emergency services were called to the home of an unresponsive juvenile on Monday. The child was then rushed to the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, where he died from his injuries on Tuesday morning.
According to detectives handling the case, the young boy may not have died by suicide but by a TikTok challenge “gone wrong.”
Following the unfortunate incident, authorities have urged parents to monitor their children’s activities on social media as they attempt to find a way to “occupy their time” during lockdown.
“Now more than ever due to the lockdowns, kids are bored and looking to occupy their time. Social media is a very influential part of a child’s life and should be heavily scrutinized by parents,” read the statement.