Nyla Anderson, 10 years old, speaks three languages and is a bright, cheerful and athletic girl. In early December, her mother, Tawainna Anderson, came to check on her daughter and found her unconscious.
As Nyla spent the next several days in the children’s intensive care unit, her family believed she had inadvertently injured herself trying to power failure challenge, a dangerous game where people restrict their breathing to the point of fainting. A few days after arriving at the hospital, Nyla passed away.
“We believe this was an (accident) and we know that she has a history of viewing these videos on social media,” said Elizabeth Wood, a licensed clinical social worker at Children’s Hospital Nemours, Delaware, where Nyla was treated, said TODAY Mom and Dad. “Nyla’s mother – with so much courage and grace – wanted Nyla’s story to be told so that no other parent, no other mother had to go through what she was going through.”
The blackout challenge is also sometimes known as the suffocation game or the dice game. It’s been around for years, but it just pops up from time to time thanks to social media.
“There are different variations of it but the idea is that an individual blocks the flow of oxygen,” explains Wood. “People might think they can get high out of it.”
In April, a 12-year-old Colorado boy dies of ordeal.
Usually people do it with someone around to wake them up.
“(They think) that person can save you in time, and that doesn’t always work out,” Wood said. “Children and adolescents, their brains are developing and they are incapable of understanding the consequences of their behavior and that behavior is unsafe. They can be very impulsive.”
Nyla’s family was not available for the interview because Thursday was Nyla’s funeral, but Anderson recorded the interview with Nemours Children’s Health, Delaware. In it, the bereaved shares her thoughts on her daughter and the dangers of social media challenges.
“She was a butterfly,” says Anderson, of Chester, Pennsylvania. “I just want people to notice and know about TikTok… Just pay attention because you never know what you might find on their phone or what they try. They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know better. “
Wood supported and comforted the family while Nyla was in intensive care from her hospitalization on December 7 until her death on December 12. Although she had not met the girl before meeting her. accident, but she got to know more about her.
“I watched a lot of pictures and videos of her during my days with my family and she was full of life. She and her twin brother (Nakye) are very athletic, very active, on the go,” Wood said. “They’re busy, happy, healthy 10-year-olds.”
Social networks and children
Wood said that Anderson knows Nyla, her cousins often enjoying TikTok and making their own lip-syncing and dancing videos. But Anderson doesn’t know that dangerous videos lurk on the platform. Nyla had no history of mental health conditions or ever expressed a desire to ever hurt herself.
“Nyla’s mother was unaware of any increasingly dangerous behaviour. When Nyla was in the hospital and they discovered some videos that she had watched and made by herself,” Wood said. “These challenges become more risky and children of that age, even teenagers and young adults, they don’t understand the consequences of what they are doing.”
Any content that encourages dangerous behavior violates TikTok’s Community guide, a TikTok spokesperson said. The app says it doesn’t provide search results or hashtags related to the “blackout challenge”.
“This unsettling challenge, which everyone seems to learn from sources other than TikTok, long predecessor our platform and has never been trending TikTok,” the spokesperson said in a statement emailed to TODAY. We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and will remove immediately related content if found. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family for their tragic loss.”
Wood hopes that parents will have more conversations with their children about social media and keep a close eye on how they are using it.
“The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open with your children so that you as a parent are communicating with them about what they are seeing and what they are thinking,” she says. “It’s your chance to provide education about safety…and why things and behaviors can be dangerous.”
Parents sometimes worry that if they bring up a difficult topic, it might encourage their child to do it. But that’s not it.
“Parents worry that if they talk to their kids, they might create more curiosity, but that communication is important,” says Wood. “Keep the lines of communication open with your kids then make it okay for kids to ask their parents questions. And that is imperative for the safety of our children.”
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:
Editor’s Note: The title of this story has been updated. Nyla lives in Chester, Pennsylvania.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international/after-girl-10-dies-from-online-challenge-family-warns-others/3088368/ After 10-year-old girl dies from online ordeal, family warns others – NBC10 Philadelphia