The family of a nine-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in his bedroom has blamed a reported TikTok strangulation challenge. The strangling challenge dares people to strangle themselves and escape.
The boy would have turned 10 years old at the end of this month
An obituary for LaTerius Smith Jr. said he died on June 10 in Memphis, Tennessee. LaTerius, known by his family as TJ, would have turned 10 years old at the end of this month.
To see that baby laying in that casket, hasn’t even had an opportunity to grow up. You know, his life has ended because of some people putting stupid things on various sites.Barbara Williams – LaTerius Smith Jr. Aunt
The family rushed him to the near by hospital after finding him unconscious with a belt around his neck. The young boy was succumbed to his injuries
Williams urged parents to be aware of children online activities
It wasn’t until later on that we found out there was some type of video on TikTok, you know, letting kids know … how to strangle yourself. But you got to get out of it, the challenge was to get out of it. But he’s nine years old, he’s nine years old, so how was he going to get out of it. I know you can’t watch them 24 hours, but that in which you can do, you just have to save a lifeBarbara Williams
TikTok’s community guidelines prohibit content that depicts, promotes, normalizes, or glorifies such behavior, including amateur stunts or dangerous challenges. A TikTok spokesperson told the station dangerous challenges like the Benadryl challenge and the blackout challenge have been banned.
LaTerius’ family urge other parents and families to monitor their children’s social media activities, block sites when needed, and aware themselves about what children are exposed to online.