The mother of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl is warning parents to check their kids’ phones after she says her daughter died while attempting a viral dare she saw on social media. (Photo by Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)
The mother of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl is warning parents to check their kids’ phones after she says her daughter died while attempting a viral dare she saw on social media.
Tawainna Anderson says her daughter Nyla died earlier this month after doing the “Blackout Challenge”—a dare that encourages participants to hold their breath or choke themselves. Anderson did not name the app her daughter used, however earlier in the year, several kids died after allegedly seeing the challenge on TikTok.
The family was home at the time, but Nyla was in her bedroom alone.
“There was no one there to save her,” social worker Elizabeth Wood told WPVI-TV.
When her family discovered Nyla’s unconscious body in her bedroom, they rushed her to the hospital, but she died on Dec. 12.
“It’s a pain that won’t go away,” Anderson told WPVI-TV. “Make sure you’re checking your kids’ phones and paying attention because you never know what you might find in their phones or the things they are trying that you think 10-year-olds wouldn’t try. They’re trying because they're kids and they don’t know no better.”
VICE News reached out to TikTok following reporting that Nyla had watched the viral dare there, although her mother did not specify the platform her daughter used.
In an email statement, a TikTok spokesperson said the Blackout Challenge has never trended on the app.
“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. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss,” the statement said.
The term “blackout challenge” yields no results on TikTok.
As VICE News previously reported, the Blackout Challenge has claimed the lives of several kids in the U.S. this year. In June, a 9-year-old Memphis boy was found unresponsive in his closet with a belt around his neck, while a 12-year-old boy in Aurora, Colorado, died after spending weeks on life support in the spring.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 82 kids died of the “Choking Game” between 1995 and 2007, but social media has made it far easier for the trend to spread.
Dr. Mindy Dickerman, associate division chief for pediatric critical care at Nemours Children's Hospital, Delaware, said the challenge can cause significant organ damage, including brain damage, “which really is one of your most vulnerable organs to lack of oxygen and even death.”
A memorial service for Nyla will be held on Thursday morning.
Correction: This story has been edited to clarify that Nyla's mother did not specify which social media app her child saw the challenge on. The headline has also been changed.