The ominous TikTok contest that goes by the name “Blackout Challenge” has left a 12-year-old boy from Colorado fighting for his life. The trending challenge involves people choking themselves to a pass-out point.
CBS Denver reported that Joshua Haileyesus, 12, was discovered on the bathroom floor by his twin brother on March 22 not breathing and was unconscious. He had used a shoelace in an attempt to choke himself, taking up the “Blackout Challenge.”
Doctors later pronounced him brain dead, and his family has been advised to be prepared for his death.
Like many other peers of his age, Joshua was interested in video games and soccer, but his family said he stood out. “Since he was very young, he always expressed compassion for others,” Haileyesus Zeryihun, Joshua’s father said.
“He’s a fighter. I can see him fighting. I’m praying for him every day,” said Zeryihun, hoping for a miracle to save his son.
“I was begging them on the floor, pleading to see if they can give me some time, not to give up on him. If I just give up on him, I feel like I’m just walking away from my son,” his father said, refusing to accept the doctor’s “bad news that he’s not going to survive, he’s not going to make it.”
According to Joshua’s father, the 12-year-old boy was boasting to his twin brother the day before the tragedy of being capable of holding his breath for one minute.
The family hopes that as more people hear about Joshua, others will help to expose dangerous games that prey on children’s innocence and claim their lives such as the “Blackout Challenge.”
Joshua loved social media, his parents shared. It benefited the boy by helping him explore and interact with new hobbies such as “cooking, guitar, and acting”. He experienced both the meritable and destructive effects of social platforms, they said.
“It’s not a joke at all. And you can treat it as if somebody is holding a gun. This is how dangerous this is,” Zeryihun warned of the dangerous effects social media could have on any young kids.
“He would pray for people who were sick, stand up for others who were bullied at school, and practice CPR in case he ever needed to save someone else’s life,” a family member told CBS4.