SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (GOOD THINGS UTAH) — Sage Roberts is a mother who has experienced a pain that no parent should ever have to endure – the loss of a child. Her son, Keston Brooks Roundy, passed away on February 7, 2018, from the choking game. It’s a game that is growing in popularity among children and teens, yet it’s one that can have fatal consequences.
Sage hopes to spread awareness. She shared that many children have died from the choking game, but unfortunately, most investigators misclassify these deaths as suicide, and even the CDC report from 2007 states that its numbers are underreported. The issue is part of a bigger problem of social media harms that our kids see on a daily basis.
Utah recently passed legislation to reign in Big Tech, but it will take years for these laws to take hold. In the meantime, it’s essential to get meaningful education in front of our kids. She explained that just like we talk to them about drugs, alcohol, sex, and safe driving, we need to include digital wellness and health risk prevention in the curriculum. Programs like Erik’s Cause, “Navigating Social Media Challenges,” are skills-based, and provide children with the tools to navigate social media safely.
Sage’s pain has led her to take action. On Wednesdays, she and her community do “Kindness for Keston.” They raise awareness about the choking game, raise money for underprivileged youth, and encourage others to perform random acts of kindness, just as Keston used to do. It’s a beautiful way to honor her son’s memory and to spread love and kindness in the world.