A viral online game has led to the deaths of multiple children and teens over several years

By Jason Duaine Hahn
October 24, 2018 03:01 PM
Credit: GoFundMe

A mother from Colorado is grieving the death of her 11-year-old son after he was killed when playing a dangerous viral game, KDVR reports.

Earlier this month, Tia Bodkins found her preteen son, Carson, unconscious just minutes after he went to his room to pack for an upcoming family trip. Bodkins, from Elizabeth, Colorado, desperately performed CPR on Carson, the outlet reported. Though paramedics and doctors did their best to revive him, Carson had gone without oxygen for such a long period of time that he couldn’t be saved. He died on October 12.

“We’re living minute by minute right now, we’re all very sad,” Bodkins told KDVR. “We miss him very much, we’re just trying to lift each other up.”

Bodkins believes Carson died while playing the “Choking Game,” also known as the “Fainting Game,” which has frequently gone viral on the Internet during the last two decades. The game involves a person using a device to choke themselves to the point where they start to lose consciousness. While the person is supposed to free themselves before fainting, the challenge often goes wrong.

According to a study cited by Time, 82 children died in the United States between 1995 and 2007 from playing the game. Most of the children were boys between the ages of 11 and 16, the magazine found.

In its infancy, the game was spread through word of mouth, the magazine said, but the Internet has produced millions of videos that include instructions on how to play. Many of them are accessible through a quick YouTube search, Time reported.

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“We have internet blocks, internet protections for all of the boys,” Bodkins told the news station. “But I had let him look at YouTube so he could learn skateboarding tricks, I assumed that’s what he was looking at.”

Bodkins, and Carson’s stepfather, Jason Davis, told KDVR that they hope other parents monitor their children’s Internet usage — even if it might feel they are crossing a line.

“As parents, the responsibility lies on us to go in and make sure [kids] are protected, and sometimes that might be an invasion of their privacy,” Davis said.

A GoFundMe set up in Carson’s memory has already surpassed its $5,000 goal. The family said the funds will be used to do something for their town that will make a positive impact.

“Carson’s life was all about having fun. We would like to continue Carson’s legacy by making a donation to the community that he loved in his name,” they wrote on the page. “Anyone who met Carson has been impacted by him and he gave everyone so much, we would love to give back.”

On the GoFundMe, dozens of people left well-wishes to the family and shared memories of Carson.

“Carson was my son’s best buddy. We will never forget him and always miss him. Life is not the same without him!” wrote Johnelle Howes. “We pray that others lives will be saved by this loss that it will make parents more vigilant.”