Our children died doing TikTok challenges; now we are fighting back

It’s not all singing and dancing.

More and more children are being hospitalized (and even killed) after trying various “challenges” they see on TikTok, and parents are speaking out.

“It’s ridiculous!” said Jazzilynn Cook, a 35-year-old mother of two who lives in Dayton, Ohio.

Earlier this month, she had to rush her 7-year-old son, Kyuonn, and 5-year-old daughter, Aarhiya, to the hospital after they attempted the “One Chip Challenge.”

Kyuonn had learned about the dangerous venture, in which one consumes a single Paqui brand tortilla chip flavored with the world’s hottest peppers, on TikTok.

Kyuonn and Aarhiya Cook in the hospital.  Aarhiya holds a packet of Paqui One Chip Challenge Chips. Kyuonn, seven, and Aarhiya, 5, were hospitalized after attempting the One Chip Challenge. Courtesy of Jazzilynn Cook

While TikTok didn’t come up with the idea for the challenge or market it, the feat has been a viral sensation on the platform, where the hashtag #onechip has more than 160 million views and #onechipchallenge2023 has about 21 million. (Paqui recently announced that he is working with retailers to remove the chips from store shelves. TikTok declined to comment for this article.)

Unbeknownst to his mother, Kyuonn grabbed a bag of extra spicy snacks, which his mother had previously warned him about, and sat down right next to the regular fries, when they stopped at a gas station.

“He somehow snuck it out of the store,” Cook, a machinery operator at a factory, told The Post. He drove off, and three minutes later, both boys started screaming at the top of their lungs in the back of the car.

One Chip Challenge package of Paqui brand tortilla chips with a red skull and a green snake. The One Chip Challenge has been a viral sensation on TikTok, where the hashtag #onechip has more than 160 million views and #onechipchallenge2023 has about 21 million. Amplify Snack Brands

“I turned around and started panicking,” said Cook, who felt completely helpless at the time. “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Both children had to spend the night in the hospital to be treated for intense burning in their eyes, mouth and stomach. Aarhiya also experienced breathing problems and had to be put on oxygen.

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Cook blames social media for the ordeal.

“It’s a very dangerous thing and TikTok should be responsible for broadcasting these things on its platform,” he said.

Harris Wolobah standing in an empty football stadium. Harris Wolobah died after allegedly attempting the One Chip Challenge.GoFundMe

In recent years, several tragedies have been linked to viral challenges on the social media giant.

Last October, Bloomberg reported that the “Blackout Challenge,” in which one attempts to strangle oneself to the point of passing out, was linked to the deaths of at least 15 children under the age of 13 over a span of 18 months. Last April, WGGB-TV reported that 10 elementary school children in Massachusetts were hospitalized after trying “Trouble Bubble,” a gum that contains the same ingredient as pepper spray, capsicum oleoresin, and which has been popular on TikTok. . That same month, 13-year-old Jacob Stevens died after taking too much Benadryl as a result of a TikTok challenge in which massive amounts of the antihistamine were taken. Earlier this month, a 14-year-old boy in Boston, Harris Wolobah, went to the emergency room and died after attempting the “One Chip Challenge.”

Some grieving parents are taking legal action.

In October 2022, Michael and Shonell Green filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit in the Northern District of California against TikTok and technology company ByteDance on behalf of their late son Tate.

Tate Green in Muay Thai uniform. Tate Green was 14 years old at the time of his death. His father, Michael, recalled his love of cars and Muay Thai. courtesy of Mike and Shonell Green

Two months earlier, Shonell had found 14-year-old Tate unconscious in his room after he allegedly attempted the Blackout Challenge.

The boy, a lover of cars and Muay Tai, had spoken with his mother minutes before. She tried to resuscitate him and paramedics rushed him to the hospital, where he was placed on life support and he soon died.

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The Greens were surprised. They didn’t know Tate had downloaded TikTok.

Tate Green and her mother Shonell Green ride their bikes outside.Shonell Green spoke to her son minutes before finding him unconscious. He seemed perfectly fine. courtesy of Mike and Shonell Green

“We didn’t know about the challenge. “I had never heard of that before,” Michael said. “At first we thought Tate had committed suicide, but when we really looked at it. We realized how incredibly happy he was. “This was not intentional.”

The couple has found some solace in channeling their grief into raising awareness and hopefully helping prevent further tragedies.

“There needs to be some level of control or management of the type of content our kids watch,” Michael said.

Family portrait of the Green family (Tate, Shonell, Michael and Dylan) in a field.The Green family. In October 2022, Michael and Shonell Green, pictured, filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit in the Northern District of California against TikTok and technology company ByteDance on behalf of their late son Tate (left). courtesy of Mike and Shonell Green

“[You] “I can’t imagine how destructive and incredibly deadly this can be for children.”

Dean and Michelle Nasca of Long Island are also speaking out after the death of their son, Chase.

Last February, the 16-year-old stood in front of a Long Island Railroad train after allegedly receiving more than 1,000 unsolicited videos of suicide and violence on TikTok.

He messaged a friend on Snapchat, “I can’t do it anymore,” while on the slopes.

Dean and Michelle Nasca hold a photo of their late son, Chase Nasca, on the steps of their Long Island home.Dean and Michelle Nasca say their 16-year-old son allegedly received more than 1,000 unsolicited videos of suicide and violence on TikTok. Dennis Clark
Michael and Shonell Green holding a framed collage of photographs of their late son, Tate. Dean and Michelle Nasca hold a collage of photographs of their late son, Chase.Dennis A. Clark

Like the Greens, the Nascas saw no warning signs.

“We only found out everything after he had already passed away. We had an idea that he was using social media, but it was never an issue,” Dean told The Post.

After Chase’s death, they learned that he had received more than 1,000 unsolicited videos of violence and suicide about ways to end one’s life. Some of the videos were saved on her phone. One had suicidal messages that read: “Advice to the player: kill yourself.” Another TikTok had the message that: “death is a gift.”

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A framed photo of Chase Nasca in his football uniform. Chase Nasca was a star athlete loved by his friends and family. His father, Dean, says he is trying to raise awareness to protect other children from the potential dangers of TikTok. Dennis Clark

“We were horrified. We didn’t understand why she would have those videos. The bottom line is that these were unsolicited videos: He was looking for weight-lifting tips, motivational speeches, and they sent him suicide videos,” Dean told The Post. “He wasn’t looking for this; nothing in his history indicated that he was looking for this.”

In March, the grieving couple testified before Congress on Capital Hill about potential national security risks and harmful content targeting TikTok.

The Nascas filed a lawsuit against TikTok in Suffolk County Supreme Court in March, alleging that their son was “attacked, overwhelmed and actively encouraged” to commit suicide.

Dean and Michelle Nasca testifying in court on Capital Hill looking emotional. In March, the Nascas testified before Congress on Capital Hill about potential national security risks and harmful content run by TikTok.Getty Images

“I don’t think TikTok should exist,” Dean said.

He maintains that Chase had previously shown no signs of suicide. He remembers that his son was excited about a ski trip he took with friends weeks before his death.

“It’s not like he came to me and said, ‘I really don’t want to go to [soccer] practice today’ or there was a drop in his grades or he wasn’t hanging out with his friends. There was not a single abnormality in his behavior that could even indicate that something was wrong,” Dean said.

“There were a lot of wonderful things he was doing with his life.”

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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