The heartbroken mum of a Scots teenager found dead in his bedroom has told how he was taking part in the dangerous viral Blackout Challenge.
Lauryn Keating, 30, discovered her 14-year-old son Leon Brown unresponsive in his room at their home in Cumbernauld on August 25.
She later learned he had attempted the same terrifying trend that is believed to have caused 12-year-old Archie Battersbee to suffer a fatal brain injury that later led to his death.
The deadly challenge encourages people to restrict their breath until they fall unconscious. This can cause low levels of oxygen in the brain that can lead to seizures, serious injury or death.
Mum Lauryn has been left devastated by her son's death and has issued a desperate warning to other families about the online game.
Speaking to the Daily Record, 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.
"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."
Speaking of popular youngster Leon, who was a pupil at Our Lady's High School in the town, 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 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 Blackout Challenge.
TikTok told the Record it has put measures in place to prevent users from sharing videos on the trend and searching the term 'Blackout Challenge' now takes users to a safety centre on the app. Users are also able to report any videos that contain graphic content.
TikTok have also deleted 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".
She said: "This week has been awful. But Leon's friends have been really great.
"They've been helping me through it all and they have asked fans to clap in his memory during the game at the weekend.
"Celtic player Liel Abada will be wearing a t-shirt with Leon’s picture underneath his top on the day and he is going to get the team to sign a strip top.
"We have also arranged for Leon's picture to be shown during the game with a wee message on the big screen - "Forever 14."
Lauryn is currently trying to get her hands on tickets for the game, so she can be there in person for the memorial applause.
She added: "It would be amazing and a really special moment to go to the game if me and my parents could be there in person."
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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