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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Life-Threatening Teenage 'Game'...

Parents - Be aware!
New Trend Or Is It? – THE CHOKING GAME  
Recently, multiple stories have been reported on the nightly news and in several newspapers across our cities in America regarding teens that are playing what the media refers to as the "The Choking Game."  Numerous teen deaths or permanent brain damage has resulted from this deadly game that teens are now engaging in and playing in the hallways of our schools.  This self-asphyxiation method creates a "high" that teens experience.  The dangers are worse if your child is playing this deadly game at home alone.  Most of the time, kids play this game with each other using their hands around the neck to cut-off the air supply, which creates the first high.  The second high comes from when the hands release and the blood rushes back to the brain.  If children play this game, it is less likely to be as dangerous when there are others around, but less dangerous is an understatement.  Children who play this game alone have no way of releasing their neck from whatever device they have chosen to use to play the "Game."
What is "The Choking Game?"
Self-asphyxiation-choking each other or themselves, which produces a kind of high. Press people up against a wall, until they didn't have any oxygen, until they passed out. Likely they repeat it over and over again for hours. They use bags, belts, ties, or even their own bare hands, causing hypoxia, a shortage of oxygen. Basically, it's a very dangerous play where the person deprives his brain of oxygen. By reducing the blood pressure the brain basically starts an irreversible process of dying. The variation in blood pressure may also cause strokes, seizures, and retinal damage.
There is inadequate research on the practice, but medical and forensic experts estimate that 250 to 1,000 young people die in the United States each year from some variant of the choking game. Many are reported as suicides.
Teens describe this game as "A game known as the 'pass-out game,' the 'fainting game,' the 'tingling game,' or the 'something dreaming game." The activity is traditional and world-wide, passed down for generations in schoolyards, summer camps and neighborhoods. The following is a list of all the names this game could possibly be called. See the list below so that parents have an awareness as to what their teens are discussing and possibility participating with their peers.
Other Names: The Fainting Game, Airplaning, America Dream Game, Black Out Game, Breath Play, California Choke, California Dreaming, California High, California Knockout, Choke Out, Dream Game, Dreaming Game, Flatline Game, Flat Liner, Flatliner Game, Funky Chicken, Harvey Wallbanger, Hyperventilation Game, Knockout Game, Pass-out Game, Passing Out Game, Natural High, Sleeper Hold, Space Cowboy, Space Monkey, Suffocation Game, Suffocation Roulette, Teen Choking Game, Rising Sun, High Riser, Tingling Game, Trip to Heaven, and a Rocket Ride.
What Attracts Teens to this "Game?"
The attractions are numerous. It is done as a dare. It can induce a brief sense of euphoria; it is reported to enhance erotic feelings. It is amusing to some to watch others losing consciousness or behaving erratically, the prospect of an altered state of consciousness, the experience of a "brownout," (meaning: Brownout may refer to a dimming of the vision caused by loss of blood pressure or hypoxia,) or more recently, copy-catting elements of the film "Flatliners" (which is an "R" rated movie, Restricted "no one Under 17" requires accompanying parent or adult).  Children and teens are turning to this type of high more and more as opposed to drugs or alcohol. 
How Teens Describe It
Quoted from a teen: "It's hard to describe how it feels. It's kinda like, just, like, somewhere not on earth, but you're just dreaming, kind of. But then it only lasts for a few seconds and when you wake up … you don't know where you are or what's going on."
What are the Warning Signs? Parents Look for the Clues!
  • bloodshot eyes
  • marks on the neck
  • complaints of headaches
  • ties, or ropes, string, computer cords tied in unusual ways
  • check closets
  • closed doors
Talk with children/teens about dangerous games, just as you would about smoking or drugs. Be firm and serious in discussions. Children have no clue about the physiological principles involved and need to be told by the adults in their lives how dangerous it is to give in to peer pressure or to try dangerous things out of boredom. Also, most children have no concept of their own mortality. They truly believe nothing can hurt them. If you suspect your child is participating in "The Choking Game," please seek professional counseling for them.
The one commonality regarding this topic from parents was: "they were not aware of the game." Let's all do what we can to inform our friends, relatives, and neighbors.  What is important is getting the information out to parents so they may have a chance to stop their children from participating in deadly games.
Parental Tools - Internet Monitoring Products Offered.  Are your kids talking about airplaning, space monkey, flatliner, playing the dream game in school?  Best way to find out - see products page.   
What's Being Done in Schools?
In some states, Dare programs are working with schools to talk to children.
Parents of victims of this Game are taking actions either via the web or speaking engagements (involvement with DARE) at schools to get the word out to parents and teens regarding this deadly game.
A few Arizona schools have sent out flyers and have talked with parents.
Some schools have sent a flyers to parents listing telltale signs of the choking game, noting that even untroubled students have engaged in it, with some thinking of it as a safer way than drugs or alcohol to experiment with a mind-altering sensation.
National Associations of School Nurses Weekly Digest 1995 has been active in the prevention.
Doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital are seeing more and more cases, with dangerous and even deadly consequences.
Jessie Grant  of  Penetang, ON Canada (Age 12) died April 2005 from accidental asphyxiation by a computer cord.  Jessie's mom sponsors a site called:  Our heart goes out to her and her family as well as all the others listed below.  Please visit her site as they have much more space to remember those who have fallen to this tragic instance.
William C. Bowen Jr.'s (Age 15) died March 2006 of accidental asphyxiation was a sophomore at Urbana High School in Frederick County, Washington. He died by wrapping a terry-cloth sash around his neck.
Gabriel Mordecai of Paradise California (Age 13) died in May 2005 after choking himself with a rope in his bedroom.
Dalton Eby  of Island Park, Idaho (Age 10) was buried in July 2005 after he accidentally hanged himself from a tree. He and a friend regularly played a game using a rope to cut off oxygen to the brain.
Chelsea Dunn of Idaho (Age 13) was found dead three months before Dalton Eby of Idaho after apparently hanging herself in her closet.
Jason Linkins of North Carolina (Age14) died in recent years of the same affixation.
Coty Mills of Virginia (Age 13) died March 2006 was found sitting in his closet, a two-belt contraption around his neck, his hands clenched on a clothes basket -- apparently from trying to pull himself to his feet.
For more information on "The Choking Game," please feel free to look up this topic on the references indicated below.  See "The Game" That Makes Parents Gasp, by Jason Zasky. 
The content of this webpage was derived from the following sources:
Wikpedia (the free encyclopedia)
Times-Dispatch, Richmond Virginia
The Washington
Chicago-Sun Times (
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