Exactly what happened at a middle school in South Orange isn’t widely known but News12 New Jersey and nj.com are describing it as a TikTok-inspired challenge where students held their breath until the point of passing out.

But the true TikTok challenge called the Blackout Challenge is a dangerous game that has killed at least 20 children in two years.

In the South Orange incidents, it’s being reported that kids “held their breath” so long they lost consciousness. One had to be taken to a hospital but has since been released.

Emergency ambulance car on the street

The Blackout Challenge on social media sounds even more sinister. There, kids are being encouraged to auto-asphyxiate themselves by placing their neck in a belt, rope or whatever is available to purposely cut off their oxygen until they black out.

For years kinky adults who have used autoasphyxia during sex for a more intense orgasm have been accidentally killing themselves this way.

The CDC offers these warning signs that your child may be doing this:

⚫ Overhearing them using terms like “space monkey” or “pass out game”

⚫ Their eyes appear bloodshot

⚫ Unexplained marks on the neck

⚫ After spending time alone they seem disoriented

⚫ They’re having severe headaches

⚫ Unexplained presence of things like dog leashes or bungee cords

⚫ Ropes, scarves, and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor

Photo by Conny Schneider on Unsplash
Photo by Conny Schneider on Unsplash

Lynn Irby Hill, head of South Orange Middle School says regarding what happened there:

These incidents were very scary and very avoidable. We will continue to warn our students about the dangers of the blackout challenge and most, if not all, challenges promoted on social media. It seems like there’s some new challenges sending kids to the ER every day.

Speaking of other social media challenges kids have fallen prey to, here are just a few from the past few years.

Dumb and Dangerous Internet Challenges

Gallery Credit: Jeff Deminski

LOOK: Controversial songs from the year you were born

Stacker celebrates history's most boundary-pushing—and thereby controversial—songs from 1930 through today.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

KEEP READING: See notable new words that were coined the year you were born

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite afternoon radio show any day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM