Boy Dies During Sleepover After Attempting TikTok Challenge

Amid a bipartisan effort to regulate or potentially ban the social media platform nationwide over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party, TikTok has also attracted widespread criticism due to the prevalence of dangerous challenges that spread among some of its youngest users.

The family of one boy in the United Kingdom is highlighting this issue after his death while spending the night with a friend.

According to reports, the incident occurred on March 2 when Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington participated in a TikTok challenge whereby users inhale potentially fatal chemicals.

“He died instantly after a sleepover at a friend’s house,” said his grandmother, Tina Burns. “The boys had tried the TikTok craze ‘chroming.’ Tommie-Lee went into cardiac arrest immediately and died right there and then. The hospital did everything to try and bring him back, but nothing worked. He was gone.”

She remembered her grandson as a boy with “a heart of gold just like his dad,” adding that the “family is utterly devastated” over the loss.

The grandmother said she hopes her family’s tragedy helps convince TikTok and other social media platforms to “do more” to protect their young users.

We don’t want any other children to follow TikTok or be on social media,” she added.

Billington is just the latest victim of the ongoing chroming trend. Less than a year ago, Australian teen Esra Haynes reportedly died of cardiac arrest after huffing chemicals during a slumber party.

Chroming, often referred to as “huffing,” has long been a method used primarily by young people in an attempt to get high. An estimated 684,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 inhaled hydrocarbons in the U.S. during 2015 alone.

In addition to the risk of sudden death, experts say chroming can result in brain damage, seizures, depression and slurred speech, among other things.

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explained: “Inhaled chemicals are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through the lungs and are quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within seconds of inhalation, the user experiences intoxication along with other effects similar to those produced by alcohol.”