Social Media Challenge Leads to Tragic Death of 11-Year-Old

( – A UK boy died earlier this month after participating in a social media challenge that involved huffing household chemicals to get high, the New York Post reported.

Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington, 11, was at a friend’s house in Lancaster on March 3 when he suffered a possible cardiac arrest.

According to the Times of London, Billington was believed to have participated in the social media craze called “chroming,” in which social media users post videos of themselves getting high by inhaling the chemicals from household products.

Inhalation of toxic chemicals, or huffing, can affect the central nervous system, slowing down brain activity and causing dizziness, slurred speech, hallucinations, and even suffocation or cardiac arrest.

Lancashire police and an ambulance were called to the home, and Billington was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Tina Burns, Billington’s grandmother told the Times that Tommie-Lee was at a sleepover when he and his friend decided to try the TikTok-based challenge. She said he suffered cardiac arrest and “died right there and then.” She said the hospital attempted to revive her grandson, but “nothing worked.”

Teenagers who participate in the challenge film themselves inhaling everyday products like nail polish remover, solvents, or cleaning supplies to get high. They then post the video on TikTok.

The Chroming challenge has led to multiple deaths worldwide as the craze spread due to videos posted online.

Billington’s family is demanding TikTok “do more” to prevent young people from participating in dangerous challenges like Chroming and even called for the platform to be shut down entirely.

During a Senate hearing in late January, the CEOs of social media platforms, including Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok’s Shou Chew, testified in a hearing on the Senate’s “Kids Online Safety Act,” surrounded by a gallery of parents who have lost children as a result of social media use.

The Kids Online Safety Act is a bipartisan bill that would require social media platforms to do more to regulate what content is promoted online to children.

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