Another boy has died after attempting the deadly online “blackout challenge” that has been blamed for multiple deaths of youngsters. Leon Brown, 14, passed away a few weeks later. British Fellow Archie Battersbee, 12, perished, allegedly due to the same viral threat.
‘It went terribly wrong’ – Scottish mother Lauryn Keating, 30, he told the Daily Record of the horrific incident, which occurred after he found his son Leon unconscious in his bedroom at his home in Cumbernauld, UK, on August 2. 25
“We have been made aware of the sudden death of a 14-year-old boy at Ochilview Court in Cumbernauld at around 8am on Thursday 25th August 2022,” a police spokesperson confirmed in a statement about the tragedy. “There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.”
Keating later learned that her son had participated in the viral blackout challenge, one of several fatal fashions to circulate through TikTok, which promotes a form of self-strangulation by challenging users to see how long they can hold their breath. This sometimes dangerous game can restrict oxygen to the brain, which could lead to seizures, serious injury, or death.
“One of Leon’s friends told me that he had been doing the challenge on Facetime with them after seeing it on TikTok,” the distraught mother recalled of the fateful day. “I had heard of this challenge, so he succeeded Archie Battersbee.”
She added: “My Leon thought he would be the one to try it first. He and the friends of his probably thought it was a laugh and a joke.”
However, Brown’s attempt backfired horribly after he fell unconscious and never recovered. “[A friend] they said they thought they would wake up,” lamented a devastated Keating. “But Leon didn’t come back.”
The grieving mother described her belated pride and joy as the “happiest, funniest little boy ever,” adding that he was “a class clown” who “liked to make people laugh.”
She added: “Everything was always a joke and a continuation for Leon. He was just a cheeky little boy. But he meant a lot to me.”
Now, Keating is using his son’s tragic passing as a warning to prevent other young people from suffering the same fate.
“You just don’t expect your own child to do it,” the Scot said. “Warn them that these online challenges are not worth their lives.”
“They’re not worth ‘likes’ or whatever they’re doing it for,” added Keating, who recently held a farewell ceremony in honor of her son.
Friends and family of Brown released balloons to celebrate the teenager’s memory, while a football jersey, signed by his friends, was placed on the railing of a local park, the Daily Record reported. Meanwhile, his loved ones have created a GoFundMe page to help the brown family during this difficult time.
Following the horrific incident, TikTok expresses its condolences to the Keating family, writing, “Our deepest condolences to the family of Leon Brown during this incredibly difficult time. The safety of our community is our priority and we take any claim about a dangerous challenge very seriously.”
The Chinese-owned video platform added that it currently bans content of “this nature” and will remove it if found. Meanwhile, TikTok users are encouraged to mark the challenge by clicking on the symbol that says “Report”.
Despite its measures to limit the blackout challenge, the app is reportedly loaded with images showing potentially fatal fashion. “I went on TikTok and typed words similar to the blackout challenge,” Keating described. “The number of video results that have come up is ridiculous.”
There have also been a number of youth deaths associated with the stunt, including the tragic incident involving Archie Battersbee in August. As with Leon, the 12-year-old Briton was found unresponsive in his Essex home in April after allegedly taking part in the blackout challenge, the Daily Record reported. Battersbee had reportedly suffered a “catastrophic brain injury” and was placed on life support, but died on August 2. 6 after his family lost a tough legal battle to continue the treatment that saved his life.
Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, TikTok is facing wrongful death lawsuits after two California girls fatally hanged themselves after watching “blackout challenge” videos on the platform.
“TikTok has invested billions of dollars to intentionally design and develop its product to encourage, enable, and deliver content to teens and children that Defendant knows is problematic and highly detrimental to the mental health of its minor users,” the lawsuit says. .
TikTok did not respond to The Post’s request for comment. But in the past, he has denied responsibility for the problem, saying the youngsters’ “choking game” injuries predate the blackout challenge.
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