Colorado mom Tia Bodkins always made sure she kept strict parental controls over her 11-year-old son’s internet access.
But she made an exception in order to let the boy, Carson, watch some videos he asked about, she told KDVR:
“We have internet blocks, internet protections for all of the boys. But I had let him look at YouTube so he could learn skateboarding tricks, I assumed that’s what he was looking at.”
But as she later learned, the 11-year-old was learning about something much darker.
On October 12, Tia told her son that she loved him before he headed upstairs to pack for a family trip. Just 10 minutes later, she found him unresponsive and not breathing.
Carson was taken to Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
His mother said he was a victim of “the choking game,” an online challenge that involves cutting off oxygen to the brain to create a high.
Now, she’s warning other parents to check their children’s internet history to ensure they’re not getting into anything dangerous.
Carson’s stepfather, Jason Davis, told KDVR:
“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.”
Kurt Naber, the principal at Carson’s school, reiterated the warning. He said parents should be aware of what their kids are doing online:
“This is probably more widespread than most parents and most schools would assume.”
This isn’t the first dangerous challenge to go viral online.
Earlier this year, the “Tide Pod Challenge” gained national attention when children started getting sick from eating laundry detergent.
Similarly, the “Hot Coil Challenge,” which involves putting your skin on a hot stovetop, also took off among teens and spread online.
It seems new trends online will always come and go and that it’s up to parents to make sure their children don’t join in.
The Bodkins family has since started a memorial fund for Carson. You can donate on GoFundMe.