What is the ‘tap out game’? Internet challenge blamed for teen death

Police Scotland have stated they are looking into the circumstances surrounding the incident (David Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Police Scotland have stated they are looking into the circumstances surrounding the incident (David Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Hamdan Khaliq has died at a school in Scotland after being ‘put in a chokehold’ by another pupil, his family have said.

The event took place at St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn, West Lothian, on Tuesday afternoon (June 6).

"A boy who’s been bullying him put him in a chokehold and wouldn’t let go," according to a Facebook post by Zain Mohammed, a relative of his. "Unfortunately he died this afternoon. I am absolutely devastated."

"The worst thing about it is being passed off as a game they were playing called 'tap out'.

"This wasn’t the case. He was being singled out, and bullied for being different... Nobody intervened, they just watched the poor boy die."

The student was brought to the hospital but passed away shortly after.

It was noted on the school's website that they are providing "emotional support" for students and that it was an "isolated incident”.

The school's headteacher, Andrew Sharkey, also said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends and we extend our deepest condolences and offers of support."

Police Scotland stated that they are looking into the circumstances surrounding his passing.

What is the ‘tap out game’?

The object of the game is to choke someone until they are on the verge of passing out, at which point they 'tap out' to tell the other player to stop, according to Lincolnshire Live.

The ‘tap out game’ first made headlines in the UK in 2019 when mum-of-two Katy Spence warned news outlets at the time about the game.

She said: “I had taken my nine-year-old son, six-year-old niece and three-year-old nephew to the skate park in Kirton on Wednesday last week. I was sat on a blanket reading a book when I heard a group of kids, around 11 years old say that they were going to play the ‘tap out’ game. I usually would never say something to someone else’s child, but when I heard them say that, I had to intervene.

“I said to them that they shouldn’t play that game, but they didn’t care what I had to say and said ‘are you going to stop us?’

“They just had no regard for the danger they were putting themselves in, when I told them that they could end up in a wheelchair they just didn’t care.”

The game has been around for a while. Previously, a 12-year-old boy from Birmingham died in 2016 after playing the game, and three American students who played it were all left in critical condition.

Dangerous challenges become viral trends

Social media platforms such as TikTok have seen similar dangerous games become viral trends such as ‘dry scooping’ and the ‘blackout challenge’

The ‘blackout challenge’, which first became a thing in 2008, has taken more than 80 lives, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The dare is dangerous stunt which encourages people to asphyxiate themselves until passing out.

The cruel challenge took its latest victim earlier this year in Argentina: Milagros Soto, who was only 12 years old. The tragic incident follows the death of 12-year-old Tristan Casson perished in Ohio, who died attempting the same challenge.

The trend is also blamed for the death of British schoolboy Archie Battersbee, 12, who was kept on life support for four months.

One family have even decided to sue TikTok in May 2022, after ten-year-old Nylah Anderson’s death was linked to the challenge. The outcome is still not yet known.