The mother of a 14-year-old boy who died after playing a deadly “choking game” has taken part in a documentary about online pain challenges.
Selina Booth, from Todmorden, found her son Jack Pickles lying dead in February 2015 after playing “the good boys game” in his bedroom, and she has since campaigned to raise awareness of the dangers involved to other children.
As part of her efforts, she has appeared in the BBC Three programme Face The Consequences, in which she confronts three young people who post online pain challenges.
“They featured three Youtubers who have a large following, who do these kinds of stunts,” said Selina.
“They didn’t know they would be meeting me. They just knew they would be meeting someone about what they do.
“They all upload videos of various stunts such as having knives thrown at them or sniffing tobacco.
“I was behind a screen and I could hear them boasting about what they do, saying ‘this is my most dangerous one’.
“I walked out and explained what happened to Jack and the dangers of what they do and how they can influence children.
“All three of them welled up and two of them cried. They couldn’t believe they were so responsible towards others’ behaviour.
“They all saw the people who watched their videos as numbers, but seeing someone like me up-front made them see that those numbers are children who are heavily influenced by them.
“All three said they would tone down their stunts and not go as far as they have in the past, and that they would put ‘do not try this at home’ warnings on the videos.
“For them to be affected the way they were was amazing. It’s absolutely fantastic.
“One of them especially said everything I would have wanted to hear. It completely changed his outlook and he realised he has a duty of care.”
Selina is hoping the documentary will help spread her message that such stunts are dangerous and can have fatal consequences.
“Hopefully people who see the documentary will start to think ‘this is stupid’,” she added.
“It’s a huge problem. I didn’t realise the effects of these challenges until Jack died.
“No mum should ever have to go through what I’ve been through. Children shouldn’t die performing a stunt, activity or dare they’ve seen on Youtube.”
Selina is urging parents concerned over the issue to sign her petition to ban websites from publishing videos that lead children to harm themselves. If you would like to sign it, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/212075.