Judith Rogg

published Parent Fear in For Parents 2023-03-16 22:52:42 -0700

Parent Fear

We - Caring, Loving Parents - May be Impeding Education to our Kids, the Very Ones We Want to Protect!

Like Erik, many victims of these challenges did not fit the profile of an "at risk" youth. They were actively engaged in life and with no signs of personal or emotional challenge.  These deaths are so blindsiding that families have trouble grasping that their child had even thought about it, much less tried it.  They search for another reason for their child's death while knowing it was not a suicide.   (We had this same reaction - despite police insistence Erik died of the choking game - until a brave schoolmate spoke up.)  

I'm astonished to see the amount of discomfort on the part of parents to share our video with their kids.  I don't believe their fear is the result of believing "if you tell them they might try it".  Some parents also confuse the blackout challenge aka choking game with autoerotic asphyxia (AEA), but this challenge does not have a sexual component and is not AEA. Perhaps just hearing that kids are dying from these challenges causes a "deer-in-the-headlights" panic.  After all, kids play and pull on each others' necks all the time.  They see it in movies and on TV.  These behaviors have been commonplace for decades.  

I had never heard of the Blackout Challenge aka Choking Game prior to Erik's death.  Erik was so smart and responsible.  He could debate health care reform and national budget issues.  Would he really try something that, to me, seemed so basically dangerous and ridiculously stupid?  I forget he was only 12... .

And yet, parents are slow to share awareness with their kids.

One mom shares her own surprising reaction when
she showed the Erik's Cause video to her kids:

"As a mom watching it with my kids I was aware that I worried about how they would take it and was afraid it would be too much for them.  Of course they were fine and I was very affected especially by the pictures of all the kids.  Even though I am very supportive of this project I definitely experienced a moment of hesitation and fear once it got going.   I think this is what you are running up against with the parents.  There's a sense that somehow the video might shatter their kids' world when the truth is that the video shatters the parents' belief that they can keep their kids safe.  I tell you this because its important for you to know what's under all the resistance.  The idea of the video is far more terrifying for the parents than for the kids."



published Advocacy Links in Advocacy 2023-02-07 21:41:56 -0800

Advocacy Links

Critical Hearings, Whistleblower Testimony and Research

Why is it so hard to hold social media platforms liable? 

The brief answer to this:  In 1996, Congress wanted online platforms to grow as venues for commerce and communication while at the same time proactively curb harmful behavior online.  If platforms were viewed as a publisher, they could be held liable for its online content.  So, in 1996 Congress enacted the Communications Decency Act to protect online companies from liability arising from what is posted on their platforms.  In short, Section 230 of this act provides these companies complete immunity from whatever is posted.  Click HERE understand what the intent of Section 230 initially was and why it has morphed into a blanket immunity shield for these companies.  

While this may have made sense in the 1990s, no one could have predicted the explosion of social media and it's grip hold.  In the 1990s, the general public was entirely unaware that these platforms primarily operate by algorithms generating and pushing content to end users without regard for the appropriateness of that content and/or the potential dangers that came with that content.

Still … courts interpret Section 230 as a complete immunity shield for all online platforms.  And it empowers platforms not to care because they are forever not liable for any potential consequences.

Click HERE to understand why Section 230 needs to be amended.

Where does that leave us now?

Since 2021, state and federal legislatures appear to have finally awakened to this issue and have started both to investigate (via hearings) and proposing laws, though the hurdle of Section 230 appears almost insurmountable.

Click on the links below to learn more of what has been (and continues to be) uncovered with respect to social media’s harm in general but particularly as it relates to the harms it causes to our kids, as well as both federal and state attempts to hold social media platforms accountable.



published Online Harms in Resources 2023-01-29 21:11:00 -0800

Online Harms Reference/Research



Socialmediaharms.org has vetted over 180 peer-reviewed research/reference articles in the following areas.  Additionally it has an extensive library of news articles regarding online harms.  Socialmediaharms.org has been gracious to partner with Erik's Cause and allow us to share links to its extensive research.

Click on any of the below links to be redirected to their extensive library of reference material:


published Online Harms 2023-01-29 21:06:42 -0800

Online Harms



Socialmediaharms.org has vetted over 180 peer-reviewed research/reference articles in the following areas.  Additionally it has an extensive catalog of news articles regarding online harms.  Socialmediaharms.org has been gracious to partner with Erik's Cause and allow us to share links to its extensive research.

Click on any of the below links to be redirected to their extensive library of reference material:


published Advocacy 2023-01-27 17:05:31 -0800

Legislative Advocacy Efforts


A list of other activist organizations and groups can be found HERE:  

The revelations from 2021's Congressional Hearings and whistleblower testimony has been eye-opening with respect to the devastation that unfettered Big Tech has wrecked upon our kids in almost every aspect of their lives.  While prevention education remains our primary focus, we recognize the need for legislation to reign in Big Tech's stranglehold on our kids and influencing every aspect of their lives.

To that end, we have aligned primarily with Fairplay for Kids and Parents-Together, two non-profits dedicated to improving the lives of children.  Erik's Cause members also volunteer to participate in Fairplay's Online Harms sub-group dedicated to advocating for a safer online experience for kids.

Some of our participation includes:

  • 2022, May:  Parents-Together (together with Avaaz.org) hosted a group of parents to San Francisco and Silicon Valley to meet with representatives of various tech companies in addition to meeting with various state and federal legislators in order to tell our stories and help move California to enact the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (A.B. 2273) on August 30, 2022. This act was signed by Governor Newsom in September 2022 (to take effect 2024) and will compel online platforms to proactively assess the privacy and protection of children in the design of any digital product or service that they offer. 
    (Note:  In December 2022 a coalition of Big Tech companies has sued the State of California questioning the constitutionality of this new law.  Updates as they occur.)
  • 2022, November:  Fairplay and Parents-Together hosted a group of parents to go to Washington DC where we met with various senators, congresspeople, FTC commissioners and WH aides in order to promote the inclusion of the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) into the end-of-year Omnibus bill.  While KOSA did not make it into the bill, we made quite an impact throughout the halls of Congress.  Plans are in the works to re-introduce a version of KOSA this new legislative session and we plan to make our voices heard again.




published 2019 Highlights in Updates 2020-01-29 22:44:22 -0800

2019 Highlights

Click here to read about the incredible progress and increase in credibility we've continued throughout 2019! 

We also encourage you to review our updated new brochure by clicking here!

We welcome comments, suggestions for the future and your tax-deductible financial donations.  

Thank you for your continued support!

posted about Please share your experience with our Prevention Program on Facebook 2016-02-05 09:14:02 -0800
Please share your experience with our Prevention Program

Please share your experience with our Prevention Program

We would love to your experience with our prevention program:  Educators, Teachers/Counselors, Law Enforcement, Medical Personnel, Parents and Students.  Thank you for your support.

published YouTube_Pt.2 in Maps&Data 2016-01-29 14:41:53 -0800

YouTube Epidemic_Pt.2

Coming Soon!


Please contact us at [email protected] 
to report an incident, injury or death.

 More maps and data are in development ... stay tuned! 

Maps and data are powered by Tableau®


donated 2015-10-18 11:48:52 -0700

Donate to Erik's Cause

Erik's Cause is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  

We greatly appreciate your donation.  It will be used to further our mission of bringing life-saving education to students, parents and communities. We will send you a receipt along with our Tax ID number for your tax purposes.

If you prefer to send a check rather than donate via credit card, please make checks payable to ERIK'S CAUSE and mail to:
Erik's Cause
c/o Judy Rogg
1112 Montana Avenue #167
Santa Monica, CA  90403

commented on Home 2018-09-19 11:26:45 -0700 · Flag
Hi Robin,
This is Judy Rogg, Director of Erik’s Cause. You ask an excellent question. To piggy-back onto Mark Cernekee’s comment, there is a process called a psychological autopsy during which the police do a deep dive into the intent of the victim.
Although the physical evidence of a choking game death may look similar to a suicide, it is the intent that is key, and a full investigation into the history of the victim is what helps to show intent. But these take a lot of time and many police departments do not have the resources to devote to this; they rush to a decision based on the physical evidence which does not show intent. Still, sadly, many coroners ignore the investigator reports that uncover evidence of playing this “game,” citing the physical evidence only. Both of these issues lead to misclassification of many choking game deaths as suicide.
Please see the document on our Downloads page called “Suicide or Choking Game – Getting it Right!” I can also email you more info about the psychological autopsy if you want.

commented on For Kids 2014-07-16 08:17:10 -0700 · Flag
Kids just don’t know that it’s not safe and don’t think it thru like most adults would. With tons of online videos posted by other kids telling them it’s totally safe, they believe the other kids and don’t check it out before trying it. Seems simple for an adult, but kids’ brains aren’t fully developed yet to think it thru.

commented on News 2013-07-11 22:49:27 -0700 · Flag
Thank you Linda. Unfortunately there are even more news stories from the past but frequently news articles get deleted from their source and the stories are no longer able to be found. But you are correct in that I believe our collective efforts at awareness have started to de-stigmatize the shame – more and more of us are speaking out and news outlets are more willing to do stories. I also pray that one day we won’t need to have sites like this but in the meantime I appreciate everyone’s efforts. It really does take a village … I am confident that if we continue what we’re doing we WILL get there. Thank you for being part of the fight.

Judith Rogg

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