Archie Battersbee: What is the dangerous ‘blackout’ challenge of social media?


Archie Battersbee reportedly participated in a dangerous social media trend called the ‘blackout challenge’ before his mother found him unconscious in their childhood home in April.

The 12-year-old’s parents have now requested permission to take the child from the Royal London Hospital to a hospice, as he has been on a ventilator since April.

His mother Hollie Dance believes Battersbee choked when she took part in the “blackout challenge”.

The life-threatening challenge, made popular on TikTok, has reportedly resulted in the deaths of several children.

TikTok has been sued by the families of two young children who allegedly died while participating in a viral trend dubbed the “blackout challenge.”

The parents of Lalani Erika Renee Walton, eight, and Arriani Jaileen Arroyo, nine, filed suit Tuesday, July 5, claiming the social media platform’s algorithm is “dangerous”.

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They claimed that TikTok’s algorithm “deliberately and repeatedly” pushed videos of the “blackout challenge” onto the children’s feeds, prompting the young girls to participate.

Lalani, of Temple, Texas, died on July 15, 2021. Police determined her death was a “direct result of an attempted TikTok’s ‘blackout challenge,'” according to the indictment.

Arriani, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, died on February 26, 2021, when she was found by her five-year-old brother.

Although Arriani was rushed to a local hospital, she was taken off the ventilator.

TikTok was also sued in May by the family of 10-year-old Nylah Anderson, who died last December after allegedly attempting the same challenge.

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Her mother, Tawainna Anderson, accused TikTok of negligence and said it was a challenge to throw her daughter at her feet through her feed.

What is the “blackout challenge”?

The “blackout challenge” is a challenge that encourages those who try it to hold their breath until they pass out from lack of oxygen.

It is also called the “choking challenge” or the “pass-out challenge”.

The challenge is not new and has been around since 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An investigation by the supervisory authority at the time showed that at least 82 young people died as a result of the ‘game’.

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Why is it so dangerous?

Since the challenge involves choking yourself, it can starve the brain of oxygen and lead to suffocation.

The CDC warned, “Death or serious injury could result if the strangulation lasts longer.”

What did TikTok say?

After Nylah’s death, a TikTok spokesperson told People: “This disturbing ‘challenge’, which people seem to be learning from sources other than TikTok, has 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 condolences go out to the family for the tragic loss.”

The platform has not yet responded to the lawsuits.


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