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  • Writer's pictureKirra Pendergast

New and Dangerous ‘Fainting Challenge’ Circulating TikTok

The Fainting challenge, known as the 'blackout challenge' and the 'thumb blowing pass out challenge,' has been circulating on TikTok.

Unlike other challenges like the Ice-bucket or the Manikin challenge, this can have severe short-term and long-term consequences.

I think many teenagers participate in this trend because they are curious about what it would feel like to have this brief moment of excitement to feed their curiosity. Being curious is a natural human trait, and it isn't a bad thing. But when it gets to the stage when it becomes a threat to your life and the people around you, it needs to end before it ever gets to this point.

Friends and siblings also impact decisions. If students feel they are missing out in their group, they will most probably decide to join in because they don't want to be the only one missing out. Students need to know that if they are uncomfortable with something, they don't need to participate. I think that, like many trends, it will continue to spread if it is cool and "fun" for others over TikTok. Allowing more and more people to see it and want to participate.

To say that this trend is dangerous is an understatement…

This new so-called "challenge" is when people hold their breath until they pass out. Students are doing this purposefully to get a brief high before passing out; so far, this challenge has only led to hyperventilation, seizures, and in some cases, hospital stents used to help revive the flow of bodily fluids. This trend can lead to brain damage and even death. Doctors have said this trend is similar to choking, drowning, and cardiac arrest. Leaving the brain with a lack of oxygen. Stopping oxygen flow to the brain for over three minutes can lead to brain damage and, for over five minutes… death.

As I have said above, this challenge can lead to many terrible things. So why do students keep doing it?

Most of the time, over TikTok, it is to be cool and keep up to date with the latest trends. To feel validation from friends and peers over social media. Many students don't properly understand how dangerous this trend is; it can end badly.

One of the most significant problems with this trend is that it can be done in students' bedrooms, out of sight (parents please ban phones from the bedroom and bathroom). This makes parents utterly oblivious to what is happening, limiting their ability to stop it. I think parents should try to keep up to date with things happening around Social Media so that they can talk to their kids about it and make sure they know they can come to you if they feel uncomfortable with something that they have seen on social media.

Because children are accessing Social Media from such young ages, there needs to be more awareness spread throughout Primary schools. Young people won't understand specific trends and will naturally want to try them. But by setting an example and helping them know that there are things on social media that can be harmful, they need to know that it is okay to tell someone about it if they see it. Parents are very busy, and it is hard to keep up with everything that children are being exposed to, but just being with them while they are online or checking in with them can always minimise the risks.

After a trend is started, it spreads like wildfire and continues to circle back. As you can see with this one, it has spread all over the TikTok, from kids in America to the UK, and now it is circling Australia again. Once it starts, it won't stop until the trend ends. I think that spreading awareness in the school environment is very important. Students need to know the dangers of this new trend and the trends that may follow, and they need to understand the risks that come with it.

Trying to control something like this is near impossible; you can try taking phones away or banning TikTok, but students will always find a way. Schools can best talk to their students and remind them that it isn't a game and that people have been seriously injured in the past and present.

Just hearing about the terrible things that have happened to kids from attempting this trend has made me realise how strong of a hold social media can have on young people and how strong the pull to complete these trends can be.

Whether you are a parent, student, or teacher, in the world of Social Media, you can only prepare, support, and bring awareness to young people so they will have the skills to be safe online.

Written by Drue

I’m 16, and I joined the Youth Committee as I believe it will be such a significant learning experience that will go towards the security of the online world. I believe social media is such a large part of today’s world, positively and negatively impacting individuals and society.

​Hopefully, through the Youth Committee, I can help create a safer online space for everyone.


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