According to local media, a 13-year-old New Jersey boy was hospitalized earlier this month after participating in the so-called “Benadryl challenge” on TikTok.
The challenge, which initially appeared on social media years ago, urges individuals to eat far more than the prescribed dosage of Benadryl tablets in order to experience hallucinations.
The mother of the hospitalized New Jersey youngster told WNBC that her son “was curled in a fetal position on the floor, eyes dilated, like staring into space, couldn’t move, couldn’t walk” after doing the challenge.
Authorities took the youngster to Riverview Hospital in Red Bank after he ingested an unknown amount of Benadryl tablets while his parents were out on a date. He was eventually taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was treated in the intensive care unit.
“We need awareness to help our children and ourselves to become aware of the danger,” his mother told WNBC. “We need a safety plan now, and every parent should have one.”
The challenge recently took the life of 13-year-old Jacob Stevens of Ohio, according to his father, Justin Stevens.
“They sit back and make billions and billions of dollars,” Stevens told Fox News Digital of TikTok, “and I can’t even wake up and say hello to my kid anymore, you know?”
Stevens, like many parents, saw Jacob using TikTok and assumed the app featured kid-friendly content, such as “a funny person singing a song.”
“I’ve never seen that other side of TikTok. All I can say it: pay closer attention to what your kids are doing,” Stevens said.
A TikTok spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement that the company’s “deepest sympathies go out to the family.”
“At TikTok, we strictly prohibit and remove content that promotes dangerous behavior with the safety of our community as a priority. 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. “Our team of 40,000 safety professionals works to remove violations of our community guidelines, and we encourage our community to report any content or accounts they’re concerned about.”
TikTok’s community guidelines state that dangerous “challenges” are against the app’s rules.
“We do not permit users to share content depicting, promoting, normalizing or glorifying dangerous acts that may lead to serious injury or death,” TikTok’s community guidelines state. “We also do not allow content which promotes or endorses collective participation in dangerous or harmful activities that violate any aspect of our Community Guidelines.”
TikTok defines dangerous acts or behavior as “activities performed in a non-professional context or without the necessary skills and safety precautions, which may result in serious injury or death for the user or the general public.” Amateur stunts and perilous challenges are examples of this.”