A 14-year-old boy dies after performing the viral TikTok challenge that left Archie Battersbee in a coma
The mother of a Scottish teenager found dead in his room has told how the minor participated in the dangerous viral challenge ‘Blackout Challenge’.
Lauryn Keating, 30, discovered her 14-year-old son Leon Brown unconscious at their home in Cumbernauld, Scotland, on August 25. She later learned that she had attempted the same dare that is believed to have caused 12-year-old Archie Battersbee to suffer a fatal brain injury that later led to his death.
The challenge encourages people to hyperventilate until they pass out to live «strong sensations». This can cause low oxygen levels in the brain that can lead to seizures, serious injury, or death.
Lauryn has been devastated by the death of her son and has issued a desperate warning to other families about the dangerous game that moves through social networks. Speaking to ‘Daily Record’, the woman said: “One of Leon’s friends told me that he was doing the challenge on Facetime with them after seeing it on TikTok.”
“My Leon thought that he would be the first to try. Him and his friends probably thought it was a joke,” Lauryn continued. “One of the kids he was on Facetime with told me what he had done. He said they thought they would wake up. But Leon did not return. He went terribly wrong ».
“I had heard about this challenge, because of what happened to Archie Battersbee. But you just don’t expect your own child to do it. Please note that these online challenges are not worth your lives,” added Lauryn. “They’re not worth a ‘like’ or whatever they’re doing it for.”
Other victims of the challenge
The tragedy of Leon’s death comes just weeks after Archie Battersbee died on August 6. The boy was also found unconscious by his mother, Hollie Dance, at her Essex home in April this year. The boy had suffered a “catastrophic” brain injury and required life support. He passed away after his family lost a long legal battle to continue the treatment that kept him alive.
At the beginning of 2021, when the challenge began to spread on TikTok, the social network said: “We do not allow content that encourages, promotes or glorifies dangerous behavior that can lead to injury, and our teams work diligently to identify and remove content that violates our policies”. The platform noted to ‘Newsweek’ at the time: “While we have currently found no evidence of content on our platform that could have encouraged such an off-platform incident, we will continue to monitor closely as part of our ongoing commitment to maintain our community safe.
A mother in the United States sued TikTok after her 10-year-old daughter died trying to implement the challenge. Tawainna Anderson stated in December 2021 that Nylah was rushed to the hospital after attempting the challenge. She was in the intensive care unit for several days before she died.
Nylah’s mother’s lawsuit also noted that TikTok knew several minors had died from the challenge, adding that the girl was just the latest in a growing list. In April 2021, the family of 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus from Colorado said he may have died doing the same dare. They believe the boy may have tried to drown himself with a shoelace.