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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Jordan Shepherd & Joshua Hartley

Mum's heartbroken warning after son found dead in room after trying viral 'TikTok' challenge

A teenager who was found dead in his bedroom was taking part in a dangerous viral TikTok challenge, according to his heartbroken mum. Leon Brown, 14, was found unresponsive by his mother Lauryn Keating, 30, at their home in Dunbartonshire, Scotland on August 25.

As reported by the Daily Record, she later learned he had tried the same shocking challenge trend believed to have caused 12-year-old Archie Battersbee to suffer a fatal brain injury which later led to his death. Mum Lauryn has been left devastated by her son's passing and has issued an important warning to other families about the online game.

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.

Read more: Archie Battersbee, 12, dies as life support turned off after legal battle row

"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 she wanted other parents to be aware of the dangers of the challenge.

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

A TikTok spokesman said the 'safety of our community is our priority' and any content of that nature 'would be removed if found'. Speaking of popular youngster Leon, who was a pupil at Our Lady's High School in Cumbernauld, 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 challenge on TikTok. Lauryn added: "I went on TikTok and wrote out words similar to [the name of the 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 mother 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 same challenge.

TikTok told the Record it has measures in place to prevent users from sharing videos on the trend and searching the challenge in question 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.

Leon's friends and loved ones gathered to release balloons in his memory last week. A Celtic strip, signed with moving messages from his pals, was also mounted on a railing at their local park.

Lauryn now hopes Hoops football fans will get behind a round of applause for Leon during the 14th minute of the Old Firm match on Saturday so her much-loved son can be "14 forever". Loved ones have now created a fundraiser to support Leon's family. To donate click here.

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.”

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