In Ohio, a 13-year-old boy died after attempting a dangerous new TikTok challenge that involves consuming more than six times the recommended dose of antihistamine pills, his family said.
Family members of Jacob Stevens revealed that the young man decided to participate in the video platform challenge with some friends and started taking the pills while filming himself. However, the boy's body could not process the high dosage ingested and he began to convulse, which ended up scaring his classmates and prevented them from doing the same.
Stevens was taken to the hospital where he spent six days without brain activity until his family finally decided to remove him from life support. The teen's family decided to share Stevens' story as a warning of what could happen to other children as a result of dangerous social media challenges.
"We tried to tell him to stay off TikTok. We didn't want him on TikTok. There's things on there that are good, but there's also things on there that are bad," said Dianna Stevens, the young man's grandmother.
Family says 13-year-old from Ohio is dead after attempting apparent TikTok challenge that entailed consuming 12 to 14 Benadryl tablets https://t.co/7AZw4xp11i
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 18, 2023
The TikTok challenge is based on ingesting 12 to 14 pills of Benadryl, an over-the-counter allergy and cold medicine. The intention is to induce hallucinations in those who consume these high quantities of the drug. However, exceeding the recommended dose can also be fatal.
TikTok speaks out
Following the young man's death, a spokesperson for the app expressed its "deepest condolences" for the family and stated that the platform is strict with content that promotes dangerous behavior.
"We have never seen this type of content trend on our platform and have blocked searches for years to help discourage copycat behavior," the spokesperson said. However, many cases have already come to light of young people being injured or killed as a result of content promoted on social networks.
Matthew Bergman, attorney and founder of the Social Media Victims Law Center (SMVLC) represents more than 1,700 parents whose children have suffered consequences from addiction or abuse of these types of platforms.
Dealers use TikTok to promote their services
The challenges that go viral through this social network are not the only types of dangerous content circulating on the platform. It recently came to light that traffickers also use TikTok to promote their illegal crossing services and even offer jobs.
The so-called "coyotes" publish videos offering themselves almost like a travel agency, publishing departure dates and even giving advice for the dangerous journey. This content also violates the rules of the social network, however, it's easy to find users promoting this type of service.