Joshua Haileyesus, a 12-year-old from Aurora, Colorado, was found unresponsive on his bathroom floor by his twin brother on March 22 after participating in the TikTok “Blackout Challenge” that encourages people to choke themself until they lose consciousness.
According to reports, Joshua was found with a shoelace laid next to him and doctors have since declared him brain dead.
In an interview with Fox 19, Joshua’s father Haileyesus Zeryihun said after the doctors told him his son isn't going to make it, "It’s just heartbreaking to see him laying on the bed...I was begging them on the floor, pleading to see if they can give me some time, not to give up on him. If I just give up on him, I feel like I’m just walking away from my son.”
Family friend Hirut Yitayew told The Denver Channel, he “can’t even describe the grief and the devastation. Nobody could ever imagine this would happen to a 12-year-old.”
The “Blackout Challenge” comes after several other challenges from the social media platform, including the skull breaker challenge, the tide pod challenge, and the Benadryl challenge that encourages teens to take a large dose of Benadryl in one sitting.
Joshua’s father issued this warning to about the dangers of social media for kids, “This is something that kids need to be given to be taught — to be counseled. Because this is a serious a serious thing.”
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