Saturday, September 22, 2018

Dangerous Games Kids Play

It is a horrible image. A child with a noose. But the reality is that children across the globe are considering this a game and a way to achieve a legal, free, and easy high. The Choking Game is probably one of the scariest games I have heard about as a parent, but it is definitely not the only one I have had to warn my children about as they grow older.

Childhood games used to just consist of friendly Go Fish and Duck, Duck, Grey Duck (yes – in the Midwest we don’t all say Goose). Today, however, parents and their kids are facing dangerous games that have real, detrimental, and sometimes deadly consequences. Have you ever heard of the Choking Game, Funky Chicken, Chubby Bunny, ABC Game, or Rape Tag? While a few of these might sound harmless to you, as a parent all of these names make me shudder. Our children are living in a world where we need to know what these games are, who is playing them, and how we can teach our children to walk away from these games that are anything but friendly.

The Choking Game

The Choking Game is pretty much what it sounds like, but it is anything but a game. Children (and adults), choke themselves or their peers until they feel lightheaded and on the verge of passing out in order to get high. When the choking pressure is released, the blood that was held back quickly floods the brain. The high they actually feel in the form of a tingly, warm, or hazy feeling is from their brain cells dying, but few adolescents who play this game know and understand the grim and dangerous facts. Kids use this technique with ropes, belts, scarves, or bare hands. Some use pressure on the chest or purposely hyperventilate in order to feel these effects.

The kids who are doing this are often typical or above average students who want the thrill of experimenting with a high but don’t want the risk of using drugs or alcohol, or think that the effects are not dangerous. Parents of children who memorialize their children on GASP (Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play) tell vastly different stories. They tell of kids as young as 9 years of age who died from self-suffocation as they sought this brain cell killing high. Smart students with bright futures from across the globe are dying from this activity.

This dangerous game is also known as: Funky Chicken, Fainting Game, Space Monkey, Roulette, California High, Dream Game, and Airplaning. Some of the warning signs include abrasions on the neck, headaches, bloodshot eyes, attempts to hide the neck with clothing, and agitation or mood changes. A child’s body can in essence become addicted to the high feeling that this dangerous game elicits, so while they may begin playing it with peers for a social rush, they can end up playing it alone – an even deadlier decision.

I urge all parents and children to watch the chilling video online put out by GASP. My own 13 year-old had heard of the game from news reports, but didn’t have all of the facts. The video includes a heart-wrenching audio of an actual 911 call made by a sibling who found his twin after inadvertently hanging himself after playing this game, and is directed at teaching children and their parents about this very dangerous trend.

Other Games I Hope My Children Never Play

Chubby Bunny

While the Choking Game is an obvious danger to our kids, other seemingly harmless games have also cost parents their children. The game Chubby Bunny, where players must gradually place increasing amounts of marshmallows (or as my son informed me, Peeps) into their mouths and say the words “Chubby Bunny”, is a choking hazard. The Fish family knows all too well this danger. Their 6th grade daughter died after choking during this game at a school carnival. We all know stuffing things in our mouths isn’t the safest approach, but the hidden danger is that when marshmallows are used they tend to heat up in the mouth, sometimes almost expanding, and become a gooey consistency that just can’t be removed with the Heimlich remover.

While this isn’t a game that kills children at the rates of the Choking Game, it is one more example of the type of activities that we as parents need to forewarn our children about and give them the correct information and details.

The ABC Game

Sounds fun and innocent, right? In fact, I recently played a version of this with other families around the bonfire in our backyard. The big difference is that our version didn’t involve incessantly scratching the players with our fingernails.

The ABC Game consists of players taking turns naming objects that begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The catch is that the kids are scratching the letters of the alphabet into each other’s arms as they go through the game, seeing how far they can go. Not only is the scratching painful, but it can lead to potentially fatal skin infections, as was this case with a 14 year old girl who contracted necrotizing fasciitis and almost lost her life.


Rape Tag

The name alone makes me cringe. Rape Tag is one of those instances where kids just don’t have the maturity to understand the potential consequences of their actions, and where adults need to make sure they are paying attention and making sure these things don’t happen. Just recently a group of young students were found to be playing Rape Tag on the school playground. It is much like Freeze Tag, but instead of a casual “tag”, students were making sexual gestures to release players from their frozen tag state.

We can’t safeguard our children from everything, and we can’t keep them in bubbles of security. I’ve watched my children get sports injuries, had one with a walking cast after getting  stepped on by a horse, and even had one take a stick to the eye falling while tree climbing. I know that there are dangers everywhere for our children. I also know that there are some dangers we can do our best to help them avoid, especially when they aren’t even aware that the game is not really a game at all.

Related posts:

  1. Play Like a Caveman with Your Kids
  2. 3 Tricks Kids Play on Us
  3. The High Court Rules: Kids Should Have Access to Violent Video Games

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

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