(SOURCE: Trinidad Express) – The death of nine-year-old Emmanuel Poteon is being linked to the TikTok “Blackout Challenge”.
Police said yesterday that Poteon was found dead about 5.08 p.m. on Monday in the bathroom of a guest bedroom of his home along Penguin Crescent, Maloney Gardens.
He was found with a belt around his neck. His phone was nearby.
Failed attempts were made to resuscitate him.
Police were told that young Emmanuel was last seen alive about 2 p.m. in the house.
At the time, he was in the company of his grandmother and his 13-year-old cousin.
It was said the two relatives realised young Emmanuel had gotten quiet, and went searching from him.
Police were told that the young boy may have been trying to participate in the ‘Blackout Challenge’ on TikTok, by putting a belt around his neck and holding his breath while recording himself on his phone.
When the Express visited the family’s home yesterday, relatives declined to speak to the media, noting that it was in the hands of the police.
“It’s already out there, what more do we need to say?” a woman asked.
Neighbours were similarly tight-lipped, however, they all expressed sadness over the incident.
“That’s a hard thing. And I know the family is taking it hard. The boy was already home a lot of the time, with the whole school closed thing, and I know his parents had to work and weren’t home as much. And then when you leave them (children) behind their devices, you’re not thinking much further than that. So if what is being reported is true, that he was trying to do some challenge…then that is hard. Cause as much as you might want to, at that age, you’re honestly not going to have your eye on kids at all times,” one man said.
The “Blackout Challenge” is a social media trend which encourages people to try and pass out for as long as possible by restricting their airflow.
While the social media platform TikTok may have been the most recent platform of the challenge, it’s been around since 2014 on other platforms, including Snapchat and Instagram, and even went by different names such as the Choking Game or the Fainting Game.
There has even been an adapted version of the challenge called “the Pass Out challenge” which encouraged persons to shake their heads until they pass out.
The objective of these so-called challenges is to “not breathe” for as long as possible.