Seven children have lost their lives participating in the blackout challenge circulating TikTok. Multiple lawsuits against the app have now been filed by parents who say their children died of strangulation attempting the “blackout challenge,” after the app showed them videos of other people trying it.
The most recent lawsuit was filed by the parents of eight-year-old Lalani Walton, and nine-year-old Arriani Arroyo. However, it cites several other children that also died after attempting the challenge as evidence that TikTok was aware of the problem.
This lawsuit alleges that at least seven specific children died last year while attempting the challenge, which the complaint says “encourages users to choke themselves with belts, purse strings, or anything similar until passing out.” All the children who reportedly died were under 15 years old.
The mother of the Pennsylvania 10-year-old, Nylah Anderson, is also suing the company, alleging that the app “pushed exceedingly and unacceptably dangerous challenges.”
In response, TikTok said in a statement to the media that it had blocked users from searching for the blackout challenge — instead, users see one of its warning screens, saying that “some online challenges can be dangerous, disturbing, or even fabricated,” and get linked to a page in the app about assessing challenges and warnings.
On the other hand, the latest lawsuit alleges that TikTok put the challenge right in front of them on the app’s main screen, the For You page. The suit accuses the company of having “specifically curated and determined that these Blackout Challenge videos – videos featuring users who purposefully strangulate themselves until losing consciousness – are appropriate and fitting for small children”.