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22nd Aug 2022

Archie Battersbee’s mum calls for bans on dangerous online challenges

Sarah McKenna Barry

“The people – they’re often adults, not children – who are demonstrating these challenges are sick.”

The mother of Archie Battersbee has called for more regulation of dangerous online challenges following the death of her son last month.

12-year-old Archie suffered brain damage after allegedly copying the so-called Blackout challenge, in which users are encouraged to try and make themselves unconscious.

The schoolboy was found unconscious at home and ended up in a coma as a result of his brain damage. What followed was a legal battle in which his family attempted to postpone the withdrawal of his life support. These pleas were rejected by the European Court of Human Rights, and Archie’s life support was withdrawn earlier this month.

Now, Archie’s mum Hollie Dance has said that the adults who upload dangerous content on social media platforms need to be held responsible. She has called for a public enquiry into these videos, and has reached out to the UK’s Health Secretary Steve Barclay.

On LBC yesterday, she said: “Prosecution wise, I think maybe the adults that are uploading the videos for the kids to copy, I think they need to be targeted a bit more.”

She referred to a video she saw in which an adult man ties a rope around his neck.

“Kids are watching that,” she said. “I don’t know what these adults are thinking at the time.”

Hollie said that she believes through these harmful videos, adults are “grooming” children, and that they need to be held accountable for the impact of the content.

“It’s out there and people are grooming our children to do these challenges, it’s disgusting. The people – they’re often adults, not children – who are demonstrating these challenges are sick.

“These people need to be held accountable. The police and the government need to work together to stop this.”