What is the TikTok ‘blackout challenge’, the viral challenge in which the boy Archie Battersbee died?

Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old British boy in a state of brain death for four months, died this Saturday after being disconnected in a London hospital, ending a long, painful and irreconcilable legal battle waged by his parents against the health system. .

The treatments that had kept him alive since April had ceased two hours earlier, after his parents saw all their appeals before the British and European courts rejected, to prevent the cessation of the treatments and achieve the transfer of the child to a care facility. palliative.

“Archie passed away at 12:15 today” (11:15 GMT), his mother, Hollie Dance, reported on television.

“He fought to the end,” she added, bursting into tears and declaring herself “proud to be her mom.”

Archie’s parents

Archie Battersbee was found unresponsive in April with signs of a ligature around his neck, likely as part of a TikTok challenge.

The British court authorized the hospital in mid-July to end its life support, which included mechanical ventilation in combination with medication.

The doctors argued that her case was hopeless and that this justified their decision.

But his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, supported by a Christian organization, multiplied the judicial resources.

The hospital was “very clear” about the fact that “there is no other option” and that medical procedures would be interrupted on Saturday at 10:00 (09:00 GMT).

“It was very hard. I am devastated. I have done everything that I had promised my son to do,” she added.

The boy died after his treatment was stopped “in accordance with court decisions,” Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer at London Royal Hospital, confirmed in a statement.

One of the boy’s family members, Ella Carter, said he was stable “for two hours” until the ventilator was completely removed.

“There is no dignity in watching a family member or a child suffocate,” he said. “No family should go through what we went through, it’s outrageous,” she added.

On Saturday morning, some passersby placed flowers and candles at the foot of a statue in front of the hospital.

The dangerous viral challenges of TikTok

But in the midst of every legal dispute between the child’s parents and the authorities, there is a key point in the case: the challenges of TikTok.


Archie fell into a state of brain death while performing a TikTok challenge known as the “blackout challenge” or blackout challenge.

The “blackout challenge” is a challenge that has gone viral on TikTok and consists of recording yourself while holding your breath until you pass out.

Although the videos have already been removed from TikTok, they became sadly famous because the guys who made it were looking to get thousands of likes or likes.

they have been used by young people to reach millions of users on the social network and thus get views and “likes”.

In addition to Archie, it is known that a 10-year-old girl from Italy also died for carrying out the “blackout challenge” in January 2021 in Palermo.

After the girl’s case, the Italian Data Protection Authority criticized the “poor guardianship of minors”. “Easily,” the agency exemplified at the time, “you can cheat the registration veto, provided by the platform, for those under 13 years of age.”

The girl’s father said he knew his daughter sometimes went on TikTok, but could never think of such a thing. “He only knew that Antonella entered TikTok to watch videos. How to imagine that atrocity?” Antonello Sicomero declared when his girl died after performing the same challenge as Archie.

read also Archie Battersbee dies, the brain-dead English boy for a TikTok challenge and who sparked a legal fight


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