Risky viral phenomena are nothing new for TikTok. The “blackout challenge” is simply the most recent in a long list of actions that can injure people and even result in death, including “dry-scooping,” climbing on tall stacks of milk crates, removing your IUD (!), and consuming huge amounts of frozen honey and corn syrup.
According to People, the “blackout challenge” has been around since 2008, but it only recently returned to TikTok in 2021. The tendency, which was associated with more than 80 deaths when it first appeared, according to the CDC, has been discouraged among young users by experts. In a study published in late November 2022 by Bloomberg Businessweek, the challenge was blamed for at least 15 deaths of children under the age of 12 and another five children between the ages of 13 and 14.
Additionally, parents are finding it difficult to keep up with all the difficulties on their children’s screens. Many people, including the family of 9-year-old Arriani Arroyo, have been searching TikTok for solutions.
The parents of Arriani, who was found dead in February 2021 after taking the blackout challenge, are suing TikTok to protect other children and prevent a similar tragedy, according to the family’s attorney Matthew Bergman, as reported by Wisconsin radio station WTMJ.
And the fatalities kept happening. According to Michigan Live, the family of 12-year-old Tristan Casson claims he passed away in Ohio in December 2022 after attempting TikTok’s “blackout” challenge. Early in August 2022, 12-year-old Archie Battersbee passed away in the UK. He had reportedly attempted the challenge and had been on life support for months.
And a few weeks later, on August 25, after what appeared to be an attempt at a “blackout challenge,” Lauryn Keating discovered her 14-year-old son Leon Brown unconscious in their Scottish home.
Although it’s unknown at this point whether Leon’s family will sue, the social media juggernaut already has several similar instances. This year, a federal judge dismissed one lawsuit involving a 10-year-old child, but the firm continues to face legal challenges. Continue reading to learn more about the tragic challenge and the other legal issues TikTok is dealing with.