Sara Haley is a single stay-at-home mom to her daughter, and spends her time as a freelance writer. She is the writer for Omaha Moms and Happy Apping. She also writes for companies such as eHow and Bukisa. Her website can be found at www.sarakhaley.com
Space monkey. California choke. Cloud nine. Purple Hazing. Scarf Game. Airplaning.
These are all common names used for one game in particular that has drawn a lot of negative attention: the “Choking Game.” This game has received an insane amount of media recognition recently because of the increase in deaths and hospitalizations from this particular “game.”
When it comes to trying to get high, many teens will find a way. One of these ways includes the “Choking Game.” By having a friend choke them, or by doing so themselves with a noose, they will find that after a minute or so in, they will start to experience a reported “high.” Unfortunately, the time frame between being high and blacking out–and possibly accidental death–is a very thin line.
The Center for Disease Control continues to study the results of this deadly game, but have found that this dangerous activity has led to a number of adolescent deaths around the country since 1995. Most of the deaths were boys (87%), between the ages of 11-16, and alone when the death occurred.
There are several ways to find out if your teenager or pre-teen is participating in these kinds of dangerous games and activities. Of course, the best way to determine whether your child is at risk of trying the “Choking Game” is by talking to them. Have an open discussion about the game, and ask if they know friends that have tried it or if they are aware of the risks.
Also, be aware of their surroundings and unusual changes to their body or personality. For example, if they seem disoriented or irritable after spending a length of time alone, or seem confused and unaware, you may want to pay closer attention to how they are spending their alone time. Checking their surroundings, such as their room or personal space, may provide you clues and warning signs. Unexplainable dog leashes, scarves, and ropes tied in knots in and around their room may be reason for concern, or a recent increase in the wearing of turtlenecks or collared shirts may raise a red flag, as they could be hiding marks and discoloration around their necks.
If death does not occur during the “Choking Game,” this doesn’t make the game any more safe than other ways of getting high. In fact, there are a number of long-term consequences to playing the “Choking Game,” including blacking out, loss of brain cells from lack of oxygen, coma, seizures, headaches, petechiae (bleeding spots under the skin) and eye hemorrhages. The risk of death should be reason alone for children and teens to stay away from this dangerous activity.
Unfortunately, the CDC is unaware of efforts and steps you can take to prevent your child from participating in the choking game except to make sure your child is educated about the dangers and that you, as the parent, actively participate in your teen’s life and are aware of the warning signs of the “Choking Game.”
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