A 10-year-old girl reportedly died after trying the infamous TikTok “blackout challenge”
This alarming online trend, which is not related to the video-sharing app, causes users to choke or otherwise asphyxiate themselves before they lose consciousness.
The Italian girl, named Antonella, had put a belt around her neck so that she could complete the challenge on Wednesday to prevent herself from breathing.
With her cell phone, she was recording her attempts, and it remains unclear if she was simultaneously live-streaming herself to online viewers.
Her five-year-old sister found her unconscious, and the girl was rushed to a hospital in Palermo by her parents.
The doctors were desperately trying to save Antonella, who had gone into cardiac arrest, but it was too late for her to be pronounced brain dead.
Her mourning parents told local media that they had been told by another of Antonella’s sisters, aged nine, that she was “playing the game of asphyxiation”
Daddy Angelo Sicomero told La Repubblica, “My daughter, my little Antonella, who dies because of an extreme game on TikTok, how can I accept it,”
“He gave permission to donate the organs of his daughter so that “thanks to her, other children would live”.
An inquiry into the death of Antonella has been launched by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Palermo to decide if she had been motivated to take her own life.
In the expectation that it would include information on whether she was live-streaming her attempt and whether or not any person had urged her to strangle herself, detectives confiscated her cell phone.
The Daily Star told a TikTok spokesman: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the girl.”
We do not accept content that supports, facilitates, or glorifies unsafe conduct that may lead to injury, and our teams work tirelessly to detect and delete content that breaks our policies.
Although we have currently not found evidence of content on our platform that may have facilitated such an off-platform incident, as part of our ongoing commitment to keeping our community secure, we will continue to watch closely.
“We will also assist the relevant authorities with their investigation as appropriate.”
In the past year, the blackout challenge, often referred to as “the fainting game” or “pass out challenge” has circulated on various social media sites, including TikTok.
There are concerns that by attempting to complete the trending challenge, impressionable young users might put themselves in danger.
However, with only scant anecdotal reports of social media users experiencing this unique type of harmful content, the true extent of such online dangers has been called into question.
TikTok users are encouraged to report it and block any account that tells them to join in the dangerous trend if they see anyone supporting the blackout challenge.