Monday, November 07, 2005

Up next: belt and scarf prohibition?

Apparently, a dangerous "new" trend is sweeping the nation:

Experts say parents should be aware of a potentially deadly practice -- called "the choking game" -- that some children are using to get high.

Children as young as 10 years old have participated in "the choking game," so they can feel a rush in their brains before passing out from a lack of oxygen.

Kids use their hands -- or sometimes anything including belts or scarves -- to choke themselves or each other until unconscious.

Oh, the crazy things those youth will do these days...

The biggest tipoff will be changes in mood, attention span and grades because they are causing very small subtle brain damage every time they do this, he said.

"Anytime you see a kid change, you need to take it seriously," he said. "There is something going on that shouldn't be."

Oh, really? I thought adolescents undergo drastic changes all the time due to puberty. Turns out, it's really because of all the simulated drug experiences those little rascals are engaging in. Silly me.


Loni said...

Thank you for sharing on this. Kids feel nothing will kill them - it is just a game. We learned the hardway of this game. We lost our 16 year old son to this 11 months ago. It's been devestating. Parents & teachers need to be aware. We homeschool our children and are very involved in their lives. We never imagined something like this. He was a good kid. Loved life. 11 seconds of a high took his life.

Micah Daigle said...

Stories like this just highlight the futility of trying to coerce a person into not altering their consciousness. Even at very young ages, children spin around, hang upside-down, and do all sorts of crazy things in order to explore different ways of modifying their consciousness. While this activity is natural, it can become dangerous if children are not taught that particular consciousness-altering activities can be deadly.

While we try to protect our children from deadly experiments, we need to realize that they WILL probably experiment. Cleary, there is no “responsible way” to experiment with choking oneself. But the fact that children resort to such activity to “get high” is a clear signal that young people often feel the need to bend reality a bit. When it comes to drugs, this means that we should have education that teaches harm-reduction techniques as a fallback strategy if abstinence fails.

Unfortunately, our society carries such a negative stigma toward drugs and alcohol that many refuse to admit the possibility of responsible experimentation. If we remain in a state of denial about this reality, many lives will be lost to easily preventable mishaps.

Kris said...

Loni, thanks for sharing your story. I am terribly sorry for your loss. I appreciate that you are reaching out to help other families avoid such a sad experience.

Micah, I think you hit the nail on the head, and your link to the Safety First web page is highly appropriate.

Past approaches to drug education and prevention have led to avoidance and denial, no decrease in substance use among youth, and a generation of high incarceration. Safety First offers a reality-based alternative that empowers parents, youth and educators to discuss and deal with the issue openly, and without the fear and intimidation that ultimately can have tragic consequences.

Anonymous said...

Ah, another "new craze" that's probably been around for generations. I'm nearing 40 and I can recall a bunch of us doing this as pre-teens, before we developed reliable contacts for actual drugs. BTW, none of us "choked" ourselves -- we avoided the center of our neck with the throat/larynx, putting pressure on either side where we figured the major arteries would be. It was also a prerequisite to stand bent over with one's head between one's knees, breathing rapidly.

Anonymous said...

"Cleary, there is no “responsible way” to experiment with choking oneself."

I'd like to dispute this. Auto-erotic asphyxiation (of which this is a sort of subset) can be done relatively safely, simply by holding one's breath. Even if you pass out, you'll immediately start breathing again.

Now, continuously stopping oxygen flow to the brain is a bad idea for obvious reasons, and choking is no good (certainly), but it's certainly safer than actually cutting off airflow at the neck or face (through pillows, plastic bags, etc).

On the other hand, for many it's not just the loss of air, but the stimulation it gives to have something actually choking, covering the face, and all that.

Like everything else, there are ways to educate to deal with this.


I'm so sorry for your loss, thank you for posting here.