Urgent TikTok warning to parents as boy, 14, found dead in room after trying 'challenge'

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Leon Brown was believed to have been on a video call with friends as he attempted a ‘blackout’ challenge that went “horribly wrong”. The 14-year-old’s horrified mother, Lauryn Keating, discovered her teenage son in his bedroom in Dunbartonshire, Scotland, on August 25.

Ms Keating, 30, described how her young son and his friends “probably thought it was a laugh” to attempt the dangerous trend circulating on the social media platform.

She described how one of Leon’s friends recounted to her what had happened after watching Leon attempt the challenge on FaceTime.

Ms Keating told the Daily Record: “One of Leon’s friends told me he had been doing the challenge on Facetime with them after seeing it on TikTok.

“My Leon thought he would be the one to try it first.

“He and his friends probably thought it was a laugh and a joke.

“One of the kids who he was on FaceTime with told me what he had done.

“She said they thought they would wake up.

“But Leon didn’t come back around. It went horribly wrong.”

Ms Keating hailed her son as the “happiest, funniest wee boy ever”.

She painted a picture of Leon as “a bit of a class clown and he liked to make people laugh”.

She added: “Everything was always a joke and a carry on to Leon.

“He was just a wee cheeky boy. But he meant so much to me.”

This comes in the wake of the case of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, who sadly was taken off life-support at the Royal London Hospital after attempting what Ms Dance believes to be a viral challenge that appears on TikTok.

Ms Keating said: “I had heard of this challenge, because of what happened to Archie Battersbee.”

Archie was discovered unconscious by his mother, Hollie Dance, at their home in Southend in Essex in April.

Archie died on August 6 after his parents lost a protracted legal battle to continue his life-support treatment after doctors said Archie was brain-stem dead.

 

Ms Keating added: “But you just don’t expect your own child to do it. Please warn them, these online challenges aren’t worth their lives. They aren’t worth ‘likes’ or whatever they are doing it for.”

TikTok, which deletes flagged videos of the challenge on the platform, said it has put in place measures to stop the videos being shared.

A search for the challenge on TikTok redirects to a safety centre within the app, and users can report graphic content to the platform.

A TikTok spokesperson said: “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.

“The safety of our community is our priority, and we take any claim about a dangerous challenge very seriously. Content of this nature is prohibited on our platform and would be removed if found.” 

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were made aware of the sudden death of a 14-year-old boy at Ochilview Court in Cumbernauld around 8am on Thursday, 25 August, 2022.

“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”



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