TECHNOLOGY

Blackout Challenge videos: what is the social media trend?

Battersbee is believed to have attempted the online ligature challenge, leaving him ‘brainstem dead’ after an accident

Archie Battersbee was diagnosed as having “brainstem death” by doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, who recommended turning off his life support and taking him off a ventilator.

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Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, said Archie’s heart is still beating and treatment should continue.

However, three judges ruled on July 25 at a Court of Appeals hearing in London on what steps were in Archie’s best interests. Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson discussed arguments at a hearing last week. Ms Dance said she found Archie unconscious on April 7 with a ‘ligature’ around his head, and believes he was taking part in an online challenge.

There is speculation that the challenge could be the so-called ‘Blackout Challenge’.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What is the Blackout Challenge?

As users compete to be the next to be plucked from obscurity and propelled to stardom via 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.

We won’t go into the details of how users achieve their ‘blackouts’ (plus there are a few different methods), but the game essentially involves cutting off oxygen to the brain on purpose.

There’s something more to it than simply holding your breath – the nervous system would automatically intervene and force you to take a breath, making this nearly impossible – and the challenge has been labeled dangerous by professionals.

While the blackouts seen in most videos all seem to recover quickly, there is a risk of permanent damage.

Any activity that deprives the brain of oxygen can cause moderate to severe brain cell death, leading to permanent loss of neurological function, lifelong mental disability, or even death.

According to the Daily mailA 12-year-old boy in the UK had to be placed “in an artificial coma for 36 hours to avoid permanent damage” after experiencing severe pins and needles and disorientation hours after performing the stunt.

Then there are the indirect risks of performing the challenges, such as concussion from colliding with objects while collapsing to the ground.

While the challenge is nothing new – this writer remembers doing similar feats in the schoolyard about 20 years ago, only then there was no TikTok to capture it – social media is spreading dangerous trends and awareness of it among young communities.

Comparable “choking games” have been documented for years, with reasons for making such feats ranging from general thrill-seeking to the promise of an altered state of consciousness or near-death experience.

What did TikTok say?

So many of these “dangerous” trends are popping up on TikTok that it’s hard to envy whoever heads their PR department.

But on the issue of the blackout challenge, in early 2021 – when the stunt first started to spread – it stated: “We do not allow content that encourages, promotes or glorifies dangerous behavior that could lead to injury.” and our teams are working diligently to identify and remove content that violates our policies.”

The social media platform told Newsweek at the time: “While we have not currently found any evidence of content on our platform that would have encouraged such an incident off-platform, we will continue to monitor closely as part of our ongoing commitment to preserving our community. safe.”

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How do I report the challenge?

Talking to your young people is an important step in educating them about the dangers of such trends, and communication is key.

TikTok also says that if you see an abusive video on its service, you should report it in the hopes that it will stop its spread online.

Any user who is concerned about something they see can click on the white arrow on the right side of the video and then click on ‘Report’.

There you can then select the category “Suicide, self-harm and dangerous acts”.

If you see someone taking part in the challenge, or if someone encourages you to join, report it immediately and don’t respond.

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