SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – A deadly TikTok trend has a New Mexico family looking for justice. It’s called the “Blackout Challenge”. Videos on TikTok show individuals choking themselves until they pass out. Now a family from Socorro is suing TikTok after their son died doing the challenge.
“TikTok is just not a safe place for kids,” says Dalia Hashad, a member of Parents Together.
Families across the country, including New Mexico, are suing the social media platform, saying they need to do more to protect children. In August 2020, the lawsuit states a 13-year-old boy from Socorro County accidentally hung himself while attempting to do the TikTok “Blackout Challenge.”
The lawsuit claims TikTok’s business model “manipulates millions of children” to generate billions of dollars selling targeted advertising. The organization “Parents Together” is trying to get TikTok to put in extra safety measures, such as creating mirror accounts. “Which means kids would log onto their device and parents would log onto theirs and see exactly what ticktock is serving their children,” says Dalia Hashad, member of Parents Together.
In March, 12-year-old Joshua Zeryihun from Aurora, Colorado, also did the challenge. Joshua was found with a shoelace around his neck and spent 19 days on life support before he was pronounced dead. “I would never imagine my son would do such a thing. The reason I came out today is to warn the people, everyone, that it’s no joke about choking game,” says Haileyesus Zeryihun.
The lawsuit also claims TikTok is defective because it doesn’t require restrictions, including age verification, parental controls, or warnings. We reached out to the lawyers who filed the suit for the family. They declined to comment right now. The lawsuit was moved Monday from state to federal court.