TikTok Blackout challenge: 'Check phones,' warns mom as Nyla Anderson, 10, dies

Heartbroken Pennsylvania family warns parents after viral TikTok challenge claims another life, this time of 10-year-old Nyla Anderson


                            TikTok Blackout challenge: 'Check phones,' warns mom as Nyla Anderson, 10, dies
The download page for the TikTok app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Despite warnings from the police, schools, and heartbroken families, TikTok challenges continue to take the lives of children all over the US. On December 12, 10-year-old Nyla Anderson became the latest victim of TikTok's Blackout Challenge. The minor was found dead in her bedroom at her family's home in Chester, Pennsylvania after attempting the challenge, and could not be resuscitated.

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Nyla is just one of the many children to die attempting the viral dare. In June, 13-year-old Nate Squires died after attempting the challenge in Massachusetts. He died just a day after 14-year-old James Boyd-Gergely did in Australia, again after attempting the Blackout challenge. Another similar challenge called the Strangulation Challenge has also been going viral, claiming lives in the process.

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The Blackout Challenge has invited a lot of scrutiny by schools and the police, but Nyla's mother clearly believes parents have to do more when it comes to their children. Days after the tragic death of her daughter, Tawainna Anderson sat down with ABC7 to offer some insights on parenting in the TikTok age.

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'This is a pain that won't go away'

The Blackout challenge, which encourages participants to hold their breath until they pass out, isn't new but has been given a major push by TikTok. Nyla was one of the many children to attempt the dare after she viewed it on the platform, something that does seem out of character. The tweet was described as "fun and bright", and even spoke three languages. She attended the Chester Community Charter School in the Pennsylvanian town. 

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Describing her daughter as a "butterfly", Tawainna said, "I'm so hurt. This is a pain that won't go away. It's at the top of my throat. I am so hurt." But pushing through that pain, the grieving mother told other parents to engage in open dialogue with their kids about social media. "Make sure you check your kids' phones. 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," she warned. 

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Despite widespread criticism, TikTok is yet to act in a meaningful way that would stop challenges like these from going viral. One nonprofit, ParentsTogether, though has a solution. Over the summer of 2020, they've been pushing for TikTok to create "mirror accounts" that would allow parents to view everything their child does. So far, the company is yet to act on that request. It has however blocked all hashtags and phrases, but clearly, it has done little to help. 

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