The Choking Game
Young people need to understand that the Choking Game is not a game and that it is very dangerous. You may remember something like it from your childhood, as the idea has been around for a while. Children play the game by compressing their friend's chest or squeezing their neck with their hands or other devices, like ropes, cords or belts. This "game" temporarily cuts off the flow of oxygen to the brain. At first the person being choked will feel light-headed due to the reduced blood flow and the lack of oxygen to the brain, causing a "high" feeling. Once the pressure to the chest or neck is released the surge of blood to the brain creates a "rush" feeling.
Children are reporting that they believe that this is a safe way to get a "high" because it does not involve drugs. They have no idea how dangerous this activity is and they are unaware that it can be fatal or cause serious harm. The media has recently reported a number of deaths and brain damage cases directly related to this activity. It is estimated that 250 to 1,000 young people die in the United States each year from some form of the choking game. Many are reported as suicides. In many of these cases children are constricting themselves with ties or belts. When the flow of oxygen is cut off they unintentionally pass out leaving no one to loosen the device around their neck. Even children who play the game among friends are at risk for permanent brain damage, harm to the retina, accidental fall from passing out, and death.
Who's Doing It?
- Mostly children age 9-15 years old
- Children as young as 6, especially if they have older siblings playing this "game"
- High achievers, not using drugs or alcohol
- Any child
Why Do Pre-Teens and Teens Participate?
- To achieve a "high" without drugs or alcohol
- They think it will not harm themselves or others
- They are curious
- They are pressured by peers
- They are experimenting with their bodies and feelings
- They may consider it "cool" and "risky"
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