“This is not a game”: Parents speak out after TikTok “blackout challenge” sends child to ER

AURORA — Several dozen friends, family and neighbors of Joshua Haileyesus gathered at Children’s Hospital Colorado on Monday night to pray.

Joshua Haileyesus has been fighting for his life inside after participating in a social media challenge requiring participants to attempt to pass out using household items.

“He is very, very much a fighter,” his father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, said. “I want others to see what I’m going through, learn for their children.”

The “blackout challenge” is a trend on social media apps, like TikTok, that encourages children to choke themselves until they lose consciousness. Joshua Haileyesus was home with his brother when he saw the trend on the social media app and attempted it himself. It was several minutes before his brother found him.

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