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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Jordan Shepherd & Lottie Gibbons

Mum finds son, 14, dead in room after trying 'challenge on TikTok'

A 14-year-old boy found dead by his mum was attempting a challenge on TikTok.

Lauryn Keating, 30, discovered her son Leon Brown unresponsive in his room on August 25. The youngster had tried the viral 'blackout challenge' which sees users restrict their breath until they fall unconscious.

However, the terrifying trend can cause low levels of oxygen to the brain leading to severe brain damage or death. Following Leon's death, heartbroken mum Lauryn issued a stark warning to parents.

READ MORE: Woman found dead named as 'kind and funny' Jaki Forrest as man arrested for murder

Speaking to the Daily Record, Lauryn, from Cumbernauld in Scotland, 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."

Lauryn said Leon had attempted the same challenge that is believed to have caused 12-year-old Archie Battersbee's death. Lauryn said: "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 told the Record it has measures in place to prevent users from sharing videos on the trend and searching the term 'Blackout Challenge' takes users to a safety centre on the app. Users are also able to report any videos that contain graphic content.

TikTok also deletes videos of the challenge from the platform.

It is understood Leon and his friends had seen the 'Blackout Challenge' on TikTok (Daily Record/Lauryn Keating)

Speaking of popular Leon, Lauryn said: "He was the happiest, funniest wee boy ever. He was a bit of a class clown and he liked to make people laugh. 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."

It is understood Leon and his friends had seen the 'Blackout Challenge' on TikTok. Lauryn added: "I went on TikTok and wrote out words similar to blackout challenge. The amount of video results that came up on it is ridiculous."

The tragedy of Leon's death comes just weeks after Archie Battersbee died on August 6. Archie was also found unconscious by his mum Hollie Dance at his home in Essex in April this year. The young boy had suffered a "catastrophic" brain injury and was placed on life support.

He passed away after his family lost a long-running legal battle to continue the treatment that was keeping him alive. Ms Dance has publicly spoken out on her belief that Archie had participated in the Blackout Challenge.

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."

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.”

Loved ones have now created a fundraiser to support Leon's family. To donate click here.

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