The "Benadryl Challenge" on Tik Tok continues to claim innocent children's lives

Courtesy of Ashley Dean/via GoFundMe

Tik Tok is a popular social media platform among young people that allows users to create and share short videos. The platform's influence on young people's behavior has been questioned for some time due to its ability to reach a large audience.

On April 19th, during National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States, news broke of the tragic death of 13-year-old Jacob Stevens from Ohio. Jacob died after participating in a viral Tik Tok challenge called the "Benadryl Challenge," which involves ingesting a large amount of the allergy medication Benadryl to induce hallucinations. He consumed around 14 tablets while filming himself doing an acrobatic stunt and began convulsing shortly afterward. He was hospitalized for a week before being declared brain dead, and his family made the decision to remove life support.

Minors are often targeted for attack or manipulation because of their inability to measure risks and their willingness to accept things as fun or a game. This vulnerability makes them more susceptible to persuasion without questioning the potential consequences. This makes them an easy target for those with political or economic interests, but it comes at a devastating cost to the young people and their loved ones.

The existence of viral challenges that involve substance consumption is unacceptable and insane. It is a situation that leaves numerous people stunned and generates self-injury, poisoning, and mental health problems such as suicide, anxiety, and depression.

Tik Tok expressed regret over the incident, but the loss of human lives should not be in vain. This tragedy should prompt a deep and meaningful change in awareness. We cannot continue to tolerate this behavior for likes or better social acceptance.

Jacob is not the first victim of the "Benadryl Challenge." In 2020, 15-year-old Cloe Phillips from Oklahoma lost her life, and in 2021, 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus died after attempting the "Blackout Challenge," which involves self-asphyxiation. In 2022, two girls, 8-year-old Lalani Walton and 9-year-old Arriani Arroyo from Los Angeles, also died from the same viral challenge.

How many more children must we lose before someone takes action and addresses this issue? Parents must take responsibility and prevent their children from participating in such challenges. The pain that a family experiences after losing a child is unimaginable. We stand with the Stevens family during this difficult time.

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