VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — “She was a butterfly,” says Tawainna Anderson, speaking of her 10-year-old daughter, Nylah.

“She was everything. She was a happy child — was.”

Nylah Anderson strangled herself while mimicking the “Blackout Challenge” that’s gone viral on social media. Family members found her passed out in her Delaware County, Pennsylvania, bedroom on December 12. She was rushed to a hospital but passed away a few days later.

“It’s a pain that don’t go away,” says Tawainna. “It’s at the top of your throat.”

Tawainna says her child spoke three languages and was an athletic, bright and happy girl.

And, as this family grieves, others may be considering themselves fortunate that their child is able to recover from injuries from this and other social media challenges, such as climbing milk crates.

“We talk about adults having their 15 minutes of fame, well, teenagers don’t have plenty of impulse control and short attention spans. And they only need 5 minutes of fame,” says licensed clinical social worker Gary Rotfus, of Virginia Beach.

And considering the potentially life or death consequences of that “fame,” Rotfus, says this kind of story can be a “teachable moment” with families if you think a child is considering a dangerous social media challenge — or simply spending too much time on the computer.

“If you see something on the news, if you’re watching a movie that has to do with making decisions, having good judgement, that’s when you take the opportunity to point out to your teenager that there are consequences to your actions,” says Rotfus.

Considering the stakes, he urges a parent to not try to be your child’s friend. Don’t worry about “being cool” and hesitate to be intrusive.

“I don’t think its’ being intrusive to say that, ‘hey, I’m your parent, I want to be involved in your life.'”

Rotfus says teenagers are on the internet more and more due to the pandemic. “And with the
possible shut down of some schools again, once again kids have more time to themselves.

“So parents will have to be more vigilant about trying to know- ‘What is my teenager doing with
the extra time that they have?'”

Rotfus encourages you, the parent, to make the time to ask the question. And hopefully not have to learn the answer in such a devastating way.

“I just want people to pay attention,” says Tawainna. “Be aware of Tik Tok, make sure you’re
checking your kids’ phones.”