Controlling teenage children is a tough enough job on its own, but now a new social media trend is adding to the ever-growing list of parental problems.
The fad in question is a game that seems fun from a distance but could leave (and has left) many with serious injuries and even fatalities. Called the choking or fainting game, this dangerous activity involves participants voluntarily strangling themselves into a state of unconsciousness and sharing the proof of this risky pastime online so others can imitate it.
What they seek by indulging in these games is temporary syncope and euphoria as well as a moment of fame on the Internet. Those who post the bravest Vines with genuine stunts get the most hits, and in turn their online persona grows.
The practice isn’t new. In fact, it is basically a form of erotic asphyxiation whose use was first documented in the 17th century and which also involves cutting the oxygen supply to brain to achieve a euphoric high.
The difference this time is that the global youth has turned into one giant fraternity, thanks to the advent of sites like Facebook and Twitter. If a dangerous practice rears its head, all it takes is a few minutes for the rest of the world to learn, imitate and practice.
According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 82 youth between the age of 6 and 19 have died in the United States as a result of the passing-out game. But this was before social media took its current shape and form. That number could take a significant hike if authorities and parents don't take necessary actions.
Concerned people have called on social media sites to step in and ban such trends, but so far none have proved fruitful. This is one form of censorship that authorities must exercise to get rid of harmful fads like the choking game, the "NekNominate" and the fire challenge. These measures need to be taken before more precious lives are lost.