After boy allegedly dies from online challenge, social media expert says parents need to be aware of trends
SASKATOON -- A Saskatchewan media and technology expert says parents need to keep an eye on the latest trends on social media platforms like TikTok – and check if their kids are participating.
"These trends are quite popular and alluring to young people because they want to be a part of it," according to Alec Couros, an information and communication technologies professor at the University of Regina.
"The way the TikTok works is you get some local hits and some local views but what you really want to do as a kid is get to the point where you are internationally known."
Couros made the comments after a Saskatoon mother shared the story of her teenage son’s death. She believes it resulted from his participation in an online "pass-out" or blackout" challenge.
The goal of the challenge is to induce temporary loss of consciousness leading to a feeling of euphoria.
Melanie Anderson believes her son learned about the challenge on TikTok.
The trend is like many seen on TikTok or other platforms, though they’re not always harmful, Couros said.
People who see the pass-out challenge may think they can do it because everyone else isn’t dying from it, he said.
"The other factor too is sometimes people are faking it but make it seem authentic. That’s where it gets misleading."
He said TikTok isn’t the only platform to blame - both good news and information and misinformation and harmful communities can be found across the internet.