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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Dan Warburton & Ryan Merrifield & David Clark

Archie Battersbee's mum gave warning over blackout challenge before latest teen victim

Archie Battersbee's mum claimed that the “blackout challenge” had claimed at least 82 lives before a teenager in Scotland died apparently taking part in the dangerous TikTok craze.

Leon Brown, 14, was found unresponsive in his room by mum Lauryn Keating last Thursday.

Lauryn issued a heartbreaking plea to other parents in which she revealed Leon took part in the challenge during a Facetime chat with friends.

The “blackout challenge” is a highly risky social media trend in which participants attempt to restrict their air supply until they become unconscious.

Despite existing for over a decade in various guises, the challenge has hit the headlines in recent months after the mum of tragic 12-year-old Archie repeatedly asserted he was taking part in the online game when he suffered catastrophic brain injuries.

Archie spent more than four months in a coma after he was found and died on August 6 when medics withdrew life support.

It is understood Leon and his friends had seen “blackout challenge” videos on TikTok and Lauryn said: "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. Him 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.

Archie suffered catastrophic brain injuries, which his mum says were obtained during the blackout challenge (PA)

"I had heard of this challenge, because of what happened to Archie Battersbee.

"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 says that it has put measures in place to prevent users from sharing videos on the trend and searching the term “Blackout Challenge”, which instead takes users to a safety centre on the app.

Users are also able to report any videos that contain graphic content and TikTok deletes videos of the challenge from the platform.

Hollie fought a series of court battles in a bid to keep Archie alive (PA)

However, Lauryn says more needs to be done.

“I went on TikTok and wrote out words similar to blackout challenge,” she added. “The amount of video results that came up on it is ridiculous."

Lauryn's story echoes the sentiments of Hollie, who endured a lengthy legal battle to try and keep her son alive.

In an exclusive Mirror interview shortly after Archie's death, Hollie said: “The social media companies don’t do enough to stop harmful content online.

“It’s out there and people are grooming our children to do these challenges, it’s disgusting. The people – they’re often adults, not children – who are demonstrating these challenges are sick.”

She found footage online of a man in his 30s tying something around his neck and pulling it tight.

She said: “This is a grown man demonstrating this ‘trick’ to children. Those people need to be held accountable. The police and the Government need to work together to stop this.”

Several reports of lethal or dangerous online challenges have emerged since Archie’s case.

Holly found Archie with a ligature around his neck at home (PA)

In the US, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against TikTok blaming it for the deaths of two girls, aged eight and nine, who took part in the blackout challenge.

Responding to Leon's death, a TikTok spokesperson said: "Our deepest sympathies go out to Leon Brown's family during this incredibly difficult time.

"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."

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