12-year-old girl dies after doing dangerous challenge popular on TikTok

The parents of seven other children who allegedly died attempting the challenge are suing TikTok

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 17 January 2023 22:41 GMT
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A 12-year-old girl in Argentina reportedly died after attempting a "choking" challenge she saw on TikTok.

The incident occurred on 13 January in the city of Capitan Bermudez, Argentina.

The girl, Milagros Soto, was found dead in her home after allegedly attempting the "blackout challenge," which is also known as the "choking challenge," one of numerous viral "challenges" that circulate on the TikTok social media app, according to local news outlet El Litoral. The girl is thought to have hanged herself.

The girl’s aunt wrote on Facebook that Milagros died doing a TikTok challenge.

The viral challenge dares users to choke themselves until they pass out.

Milagros reportedly had successfully attempted the challenge twice before, but is believed to have died on her third attempt, according to Jam Press.

The girl’s aunt told Jam Press that the girl had received a WhatsApp message from someone along with a link to the challenge after she had been bullied at school.

"I believe someone encouraged her to do it," her aunt told the publication. "She suffered a lot with bullying."

Police are investigating the incident.

Choking challenges are not a new phenomenon. The CDC noted in 2008 that more than 82 young people had died between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s as a result of participating in "choking games."

The report found that the majority of the deaths occurred in people between the ages of 11 and 16, with the average age being 13.

In November, a Bloomberg Businessweek story linked the current iteration of the challenge to at least 15 deaths in children 12 and under over the preceding 18 months, and another five deaths in children aged 13 and 14-years-old.

The parents of seven children who reportedly died after attempting the challenge have sued TikTok, according to The Verge.

While TikTok told The Washington Post that it blocked users from searching for the blackout challenge and replaced the search results with a warning that "some online challenges can be dangerous, disturbing, or even fabricated" along with a link for "more resources," two of the parents suing the company maintain the challenge was on their children’s "For You" page.

TikTok spokesperson Mahsau Cullinane offered the following statement addressing the challenge.

"This disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend," she wrote. "We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss."

A month before Milagros died, another 12-year-old in Ohio, Tristan Casson, was found dead after allegedly attempting the challenge, according to Michigan Live.

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