Two children’s deaths linked to TikTok “blackout challenge”

The victims, aged 12 and 15, died in separate incidents just days apart as the dangerous craze takes hold in Argentina

by Buenos Aires Herald
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Authorities are on alert about a dangerous TikTok challenge after two children died in two days.

Last Friday, 12-year-old Milagros Soto was found dead in her bedroom in Capitán Bermúdez, Santa Fe. The cause of death was reported as mechanical asphyxiation, and there was no evidence that anyone else was involved.

Her family suspects she participated in TikTok’s “blackout challenge,” which consists of users competing to see who can hold their breath the longest without passing out.

Soto’s aunt told Radio 2 that the girl was in a TikTok group video chat with her classmates where she “was incentivized” to do the challenge that appears to have claimed her life.

Prosecutor Juan Carlos Ledesma got the recording of the video call from Milagros’s phone and called the girl’s family as witnesses.

The day after Soto died, a 15-year-old teenager in the city of General Roca, Río Negro, was found dead with another child, who remains in a serious condition. They, too, appeared to have participated in the blackout challenge, according to health authorities.

These two cases are not the first believed to be linked to the challenge. Last May, 10-year-old Nylah Anderson died due to the “Blackout challenge” in the United States. Her mother filed a complaint against TikTok. In October, 9-year-old Matías Ismael died the same way in Tijuana, Mexico.

Santa Fe and Río Negro’s Health Ministries issued recommendations for parents after both cases were known. Among them, they urged parents to be informed about social media, listen to their children and take an active interest in how their children use social networks.

They also suggested children shouldn’t use social media before the authorized age for each platform, adding that there can be risks in “closed communities,” and that they should always inform their parents if they feel something could affect their wellbeing.

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