Mom Begs Parents to Listen After Son Accidentally Takes His Own Life in Social Media Challenge

choking challenge

Indiana mother Joanna Bogard has issued an urgent warning to parents on Facebook after her son Mason’s attempt at the “choking challenge” went terribly awry.

The “choking challenge,” also known as the “fainting challenge,” is a trend circulating social media that encourages kids to choke themselves to the point of almost passing out in hopes of achieving a high.

The dangerous challenge has gone viral several times over the past two decades, and it’s back with a vengeance in 2019.

At least 82 children in the U.S. died between 1995 and 2007, according to a study cited by Time. Most of them were boys between the ages of 11 and 16. Citing the same study, the New York Post added that the exact number of deaths to date has been extremely difficult for experts to track as they are often misidentified as suicides.

In its beginnings, the “choking challenge” was spread via word of mouth, but today’s technological advances have made social media its new breeding ground.

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Mason, like so many who have gone before him, will tragically lose his life to the challenge that he perceived as all fun and games. Though doctors have done all they can to revive the teen, their efforts have failed, and he is now being prepared for organ donation.

Though devastated over the loss of her son, Mason’s mother Joanna hopes that in warning others, she can save someone else’s child from suffering the same fate.

Read Joanna’s latest update on Mason and her viral plea to parents below: 

“Steve, Taylor, and I want to take this time to provide everyone with an update on Mason. We felt it was important for the information to come from us so that there is no confusion on Mason’s current state.

First and foremost, we wanted to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. During this unimaginable, heartbreaking time, we cannot express enough how much it has meant to our family. We felt every single prayer!

As most of you know, Mason was involved in an incident on Wednesday evening. We’ve learned that Mason attempted a challenge that he saw on social media and it went horribly wrong. The challenge that Mason tried was the choking challenge. The challenge is based on the idea that you choke yourself to the point of almost passing out and then stop. It’s supposed to create a type of high. Unfortunately, it has taken the lives of many young people too early and it will take our precious Mason.

Over the last several days the amazing staff at the Deaconess Hospital has done everything they can to bring Mason back to us. Unfortunately, we will not have the opportunity to experience so many things with our child because of a stupid challenge on social media.

Shortly after we learned that there was nothing that could be done to bring Mason back, we talked about organ donation. The staff, along with a team from Indianapolis, is currently preparing Mason for this donation process, which will most likely occur sometime tomorrow. While we are devastated that we will never experience so many things with Mason again, we are able to find some comfort in the fact that Mason will save the lives of others. He would have wanted it this way. He was an extremely generous young man.

Finally, we want to plead with you from the bottom of our hearts…please pay attention to what your children look at on social media. I know our kids always complain that we’re being too overprotective but it’s ok, it’s our job.

Thank you all again for your outpouring of love, support and prayers. Hug your children, tell them you love them. Enjoy every moment and let the little issues go. We know in our hearts that Mason’s love, generosity, and compassion will live on through those that he is about to save.”

Parents, please be vigilant over your children’s social media use, and talk to them about the dangers of the “choking challenge” today. 

Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.