Boy, 12, 'chokes himself to death taking part in dangerous online craze' that starves brain of oxygen
A 12-year-old boy has died after reportedly taking part in a dangerous online craze which cuts off oxygen to the brain.
Karnel Haughton, from the Tyburn area of Birmingham, is believed to have lost consciousness and suffocated.
Friends and parents have now shared warnings about the potentially lethal game in which youngsters film themselves choking and post the videos on social media.
Karnel is thought to have been playing the 'game' in his bedroom when he lost consciousness.
He died later that day after being rushed to hospital by his mum Gemma.
Police are treating his death as 'unexplained'.
A family friend said: “It was his mum who found him at home. He was apparently playing the ‘choking game’.
“Karnel was such a witty and happy young boy and really close to his brother and sister.
“He was a popular lad at school with a lot of friends – he had a good word to say about everyone”.
It is not known if Karnel was playing the game alone or with others.
A warning to parents posted on Facebook by family friend Bee Bailey - who describes herself as Gemma's best friend - has now been shared thousands of times- on Facebook.
She wrote: "My best friend Gemma lost her son Karnel Haughton who was just 12 years old. It has been a massive shock to everyone and we are all absolutely devastated. He was a beautiful, popular, clever and outgoing lad and his friends have already paid some beautiful tributes towards him.
"The family have decided that it is time to make it clear exactly what happened and to help raise awareness of a new craze amongst youngsters which is becoming terrifyingly popular online.
"At first we did not know exactly what happened but some of Karnel's friends have come forward and told the police and family about a game / craze that has become popular amongst youngsters on the Internet and social media called the choking game.
"Before the tragedy took place Karnel had been telling his friends about a new game he had heard of called the choking game. This game has been around several years but seems to have become worryingly popular again.
"It involves either putting your hands around your friends neck or tying something around your own neck to starve the brain of oxygen and pass out, inducing temporary euphoria.
"It is so so so important that you talk to your children and make sure they know that one of many consequences of playing this game is sadly death."
A GoFundMe page has been started by friends to raise money for Karnel's funeral or raise money for his nana to fly home from America.
The page also warns of the dangers of the online craze.
The page states: "There was a tragic accident on the 1st of June that involved a 12 year old boy loosing his life due to a social media game.
"For all the children out there that know it as the choking game please be aware of the consequences.
"Karnel was the most beautiful boy anybody would come across, popular,confident and a cheeky little lad."
A family friend added on Facebook: "My good friends son Karnel passed away recently at just 12 years old and we discovered from his friends he was talking about playing the "choking game", parents you need to be aware of this because it is becoming popular again online and kids are so easily led on with these crazes.
"Karnel was a clever young lad that had the gift of the gab and was loved very much by everyone in the community and at school.
"His family and friends are devastated and want to make parents aware of this trend to save this tragedy happening to anyone else's children."
Staff and pupils at Karnel's school Greenwood Academy are said to be 'devastated' by his death - which happened during last week's half-term holidays.
Headteacher Harry French said: “The staff at Greenwood Academy received the tragic news of Year 7 Student, Karnel Haughton’s passing on Thursday morning.
"Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and the Castle Vale community.
“Karnel was a chatty, witty, mature young man who always had a smile on his face. He had many friends who will be devastated by this sad news.
“Karnel had excellent practical skills, was very hands on and enjoyed challenges such as building himself a bike through the academy’s bike project. He was patient, guiding and had great ambitions to become a firefighter.
“A team of counsellors will be on site at Greenwood Academy upon the return to school on Monday 6th June and Tuesday 7th June to support pupils and staff.
“Karnel was very close to his family and often talked about them within school; our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.”