10-year-old girl dies after attempting social media ‘Blackout Challenge’

Tragedy comes 10 months after Italian authorities blocked underage social media users following a similar death

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 22 December 2021 19:57
<p>Tawainna Anderson, Nyla’s mother </p>

Tawainna Anderson, Nyla’s mother

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A “happy” 10-year-old has died while attempting a social media “Blackout Challenge” in which participants try holding their breath until the point of fainting, according to her family.

Her mother,  Tawainna Anderson, told ABC 7 News that her daughter Nyla Anderson was a “happy child” who loved learning languages and also had social media accounts.

She had been at home in her bedroom during the attempted challenge on 12 December when she died.

“I’m so hurt,” Ms Anderson said. “This is a pain that won’t go away. It’s at the top of my throat. I am so hurt.”

The mother, in a warning to parents of the dangers of following social media “challenges”, called on parents to check children’s phones for potentially harmful content.

“Make sure you check your kids’ phones,” Ms Anderson said. “You never know what you might find on their phones.”

“You wouldn’t think 10-year-olds would try this. They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know better.”

Elizabeth Woods, a social worker from the local hospital in Chester, Pennsyalvania, told the news station that Nyla had been alone in her room at home so “there was no one there to save her”.

Holding your breath for a sustained period of time can lead to cardiac arrest and organ damage.

In January, Italian authorities temporarily blocked TikTok accounts who could not be age verified following the death of a 10-year-old girl for the same challenge.

While it is not known what social media platform Nyla had seen the challenge on, TikTok told The Independent that it had taken action to address content that could be harmful and to protect minors on its platform. It also said it had no evidence of a “Blackout Challenge” on its site.

A memorial service for Nyla is being held on 24 December.

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