A Year 11 student of Albany Creek State High School allegedly became the latest victim of a dangerous TikTok challenge when he was choked until he lost consciousness in class last week.
It has been widely believed that the incident as part of a growing list of youth seriously injured, and even killed by the “Blackout Challenge,” a viral stunt encouraging participants to choke themselves until they lose consciousness.
However, there have been statements that this may have been the result of what may have been a prank gone horribly awry and not due to participation in the Challenge at all.
According to students, the victim lost consciousness after being choked by one of his classmates, who did not release his hold until the victim hit his head on a desk before falling to the floor and beginning to have seizures. An ambulance was immediately called to transport the student to the hospital.
The Department of Education confirmed the Albany Creek incident has been reviewed and disciplinary action was taken per the school’s conduct code. Police say they will continue investigating the disturbance.
The student even posted a selfie on Snapchat whilst still being treated in the hospital with the caption “Ty to everyone who’s asked abt me,” saying he appreciated the concern.
What is the Blackout Challenge?
The blackout challenge intends to restrict oxygen to the brain for a period of time, resulting in a temporary loss of consciousness. The stunt has been linked to the deaths of between 15 and 20 children since gaining traction online.
In 2021, a mother from NSW warned other parents to look after their children’s social media activity after her 14-year-old son died whilst allegedly attempting the challenge due to pressure from social media.
The blackout challenge has sparked several legal battles seeking to hold the social media platform accountable. In 2022, a parent from Pennsylvania sued TikTok and its parent company ByteDance after her 10-year-old daughter died attempting the challenge.
Court documents showed the dangerous dare appeared on the girl’s TikTok “For You Page,” which recommends content based on user activity. However, a federal judge dismissed the case, ruling the platform is shielded by the United State’s Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability for content posted by third-party users. The distraught mother vowed to continue fighting to change the controversial law.
Following multiple deaths of teens who participated in this challenge, TikTok has since blocked search results associated with the game.
Whether this choking incident in Albany Creek was the result of a dangerous schoolboy prank or participation in the Blackout Challenge, parental oversight of social media activity and school action on risky pranks and similar activities are crucial to prevent similar tragedies.