Similar smothering games have been played by children for decades, but social media has made them more widespread
As users compete to be the next to be plucked from obscurity and catapulted into stardom through viral video fame, some resort to increasingly silly stunts to grab people’s attention.
The latest is the “Blackout Challenge,” a gauntlet that encourages people to hyperventilate until they pass out — all for social media likes.
Here’s everything you need to know about it.
What is the Blackout Challenge?
We’re not going to give specifics on how users achieve their “blackouts” (plus there are a few different methods), but the game essentially involves the deliberate cutting off of oxygen to the brain.
There’s a little more to it than just holding your breath – the nervous system would automatically kick in and force you to take a breath, making it almost impossible – and the challenge has been deemed dangerous by pros.
While the power outages seen in the videos all appear to be resolved quickly, there is a risk of permanent damage.
Any activity that deprives the brain of oxygen can cause moderate to severe brain cell death, which can result in permanent loss of neurological function, lifelong intellectual disability, or even death.
According to the Daily MailIn the UK, a 12-year-old boy had to be “put into an induced coma for 36 hours to avoid permanent damage” after suffering severe tingling and disorientation hours after the stunt.
Then there are the indirect risks in completing the challenges, such as: B. Concussions from collisions with objects when falling on the ground.
While the challenge is nothing new – this author recalls performing similar feats in the schoolyard some 20 years ago, only there wasn’t a TikTok to capture them back then – social media is allowing dangerous trends and awareness to flourish spread among young communities.
Similar “choking games‘ have been documented for years, with reasons for such feats ranging from general thrill-seeking to the promise of an altered state of consciousness or a near-death experience.
What did TikTok say?
So many of these “dangerous” trends are emerging on TikTok that it’s hard to envy whoever runs their PR department.
But regarding the blackout challenge, it said in early 2021 – when the stunt first spread: “We do not allow content that encourages, encourages or glorifies dangerous behavior that could lead to injury, and our teams are working diligently on it.” Identify and remove content that violates our policies.”
The social media platform told Newsweek at the time: “While we have not found any evidence of content on our platform at this time that may have encouraged such an off-platform incident, we continue to do so as part of our ongoing commitment to preserving our community.” watch closely for sure.”
How should I report the challenge?
Talking to your youngsters is an important step in educating them about the dangers of such trends, and communication is key.
TikTok also says that if you spot an objectionable 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 and then click report.
From there, you can then select the “Suicide, self-harm, and dangerous acts” category.
If you see someone participating in the challenge, or if someone encourages you to participate, please report the account immediately and do not respond.