A 12-year-old girl in Argentina died this week after attempting the deadly “choking challenge” first popularized on TikTok.
“We are inconsolable [because] we gave her so much love,” the victim’s aunt Laura Luque told Jam Press of the tragedy, which occurred on January 13 in the city of Capitán Bermudez, Santa Fe Province.
Her niece Milagros Soto had been discovered dead in her home after allegedly participating in the viral “choking challenge” — one of several fatal fads to circulate on TikTok. The little girl was found hanging from a makeshift noose, local outlet El Litoral reported.
Also known as the “blackout challenge,” this dangerous stunt encourages internet clout-seekers to asphyxiate themselves until passing out. Experts have warned that the bizarre viral trend is potentially dangerous — and can result in fainting, brain damage, seizures and worse.
Soto isn’t the first youngster to tragically perish from the disturbing online stunt. Over the summer, UK youths Leon Brown, 14, and Archie Battersbee, 12, allegedly died due to the same viral menace.
Soto had tried the challenge twice successfully, but failed to remove the noose on the third attempt, according to Jam Press. “On the third occasion, she could not remove the rope from her neck,” lamented Luque of the fatal incident, which was reportedly captured on camera.
Soto’s motivation for attempting the deadly stunt is yet unclear. However, her aunt claimed that the student had received a WhatsApp message with the link to the challenge after getting bullied at school.
“I believe someone encouraged her to do it,” the bereaved relative insisted. “She suffered a lot with bullying.”
Luque added, “She told us no one wanted her at school because she was pretty with blond hair.”
Despite her prior explanation, the little girl’s aunt said she harbored “many doubts about everything that happened to her” as “she was a very smart girl.”
Authorities have since launched a probe to try and get to the bottom of the preteen’s death.
The community was devastated over little Soto’s loss.
“We support our student’s family in this terrible moment,” said a spokesperson for School 223 Tte. Gral. Pablo Ricchieri, where the victim attended. They described the deceased as “great student, friend, sweet, good and kind.”
Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, TikTok is facing wrongful death lawsuits after two California girls fatally hanged themselves after watching “blackout challenge” videos on the platform.
“TikTok has invested billions of dollars to intentionally design and develop its product to encourage, enable and push content to teens and children that defendant knows to be problematic and highly detrimental to its minor users’ mental health,” the lawsuit read.
TikTok did not respond to request for comment from The Post. In the past, the streaming platform has denied responsibility for the ongoing issue, saying “choking game” injuries from young people long predate the blackout challenge.
Meanwhile, TikTok users are encouraged to flag anybody engaged in the challenge by clicking the symbol that says “Report.”