Devastated mother Lauryn Keating has said her son Leon Brown died after attempting the blackout challenge he saw on TikTok.
14-year-old Leon Brown was found dead in his bedroom on the morning of August 25.
And now his mother Lauryn Keating has said Leon’s friends told her he took part in the so-called ‘blackout challenge’ before he died.
The dangerous social media trend sees young people trying to film themselves passing out on camera.
And Lauryn said she thought Leon tried the breakdown challenge after seeing it on TikTok.
She told the Daily Record: “One of Leon’s friends told me he did the Facetime challenge with them after seeing it on TikTok.
“My Leon thought he would be the first to try it. He and his friends probably thought it was a laugh and a joke.
“One of the kids he was on Facetime with told me what he had done.
“She said they thought they were going to wake up. But Leon didn’t come back. It went horribly wrong.
She described her son as “the happiest, funniest little boy ever”.
“I had heard about this challenge, because of what happened to Archie Battersbee,” Lauryn added.
“But you don’t expect your own child to do that. Please warn them, these online challenges are not worth their lives.
“I went on TikTok and wrote similar words to the breakdown challenge. The amount of video results that appeared there is ridiculous.
TikTok said videos of the breakdown challenge are banned and will be removed if found.
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money for Lauryn and Leon’s family.
Michelle Thomson wrote: “The whole of Cumbernauld is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of 14 year old Leon.
“Please help support his family during this difficult time and give Leon, who was the sweetest and most caring young boy, the send off he deserves.”
What is the Blackout Challenge?
The blackout challenge encourages people to film themselves hyperventilating until they pass out for social media.
The game is basically about intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain, which has been called dangerous by professionals.
Although the power outages seen in the majority of videos may all appear to be quickly recovered, there is a risk of lasting damage.
Any activity that deprives the brain of oxygen can lead to moderate to severe brain cell death, resulting in permanent loss of neurological function, permanent mental disability, or even death.
According to the Daily Mail, a 12-year-old boy in the UK had to be “placed in an induced coma for 36 hours to avoid permanent damage” after suffering severe tingling and disorientation hours after doing the stunt.
Then there are the indirect risks of completing the challenges, such as concussions from colliding with objects when you crash to the ground.
Although the challenge is not new, social media allows dangerous trends and awareness to spread among young communities.
Similar “choking games” have been documented for years, with reasons for performing such feats ranging from general thrill-seeking to the promise of an altered state of consciousness or near-death experience.
What did TikTok say?
Speaking after Leon’s death, a TikTok spokesperson said: “Our deepest condolences go out to Leon Brown’s family during this incredibly difficult time.
“The safety of our community is our priority and we take any complaints about a dangerous challenge very seriously. Content of this nature is prohibited on our platform and would be removed if found.
And on the issue of the blackout challenge, in early 2021 – when the stunt started spreading – he said: “We don’t allow content that encourages, promotes or glorifies dangerous behavior that could cause injury, and our teams work diligently to identify and remove content that violates our policies. »
How do I report the challenge?
Talking to your young people is an important step in educating them about the dangers of these trends, and communication is key.
TikTok also says that if you spot an offensive video on its service, you should report it in hopes it will stop it from spreading online.
Any user affected by something they see can click the white arrow on the right side of the video, then click “Report.”
There you can then select the category “Suicide, self-harm and dangerous acts”.
If you see someone participating in the challenge, or if someone encourages you to participate, please report the account immediately and do not respond.
What did the police say?
A Police Scotland spokesman said: ‘We were made aware of the sudden death of a 14-year-old boy at Ochilview Court in Cumbernauld at around 8am on Thursday August 25, 2022.
“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a report will be submitted to the tax prosecutor.”
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