Wednesday 22 November 2017

Teens risk deadly games apart from neknomination

Joyce Fegan

Joyce Fegan

IRISH teenagers are taking part in a series of deadly internet games aside from the deadly neknomination craze, which was linked to the death of two young men last week.

These high-risk games on social media include 'pass out', which resulted in one teenage boy ending up on life-support last October, and the 'cinnamon challenge'.

'Pass out' or the fainting game is where a person intentionally deprives themselves of oxygen receiving a brief high when they regain consciousness. Teens film each other performing the dangerous act and then share the photos and videos online. American teenager Brandon Stine, who died in 2010, is just one of the 80 deaths associated with the craze in the US.

Teenagers and young adults are also taking part in other deadly contests where they consume homemade concoctions and film the result. Bread soda and vinegar and carbonated drinks and mints are two examples of the hazardous combinations that young people ingest while their friend videos the reaction on their smartphone before uploading it online.

'Head hill' and 'rainbow parties' are other teenage phenomena online. 'Head hill' is an area in Dublin where teens meet up to "knowingly" consume alcohol, perform a sexual act and video the act. The 'rainbow party' is where young males compete to see how many kinds of lipsticks end up on their penis at the end of the night.

On Friday night the father of Jonny Byrne, 19, who died as a result of a neknomination when he jumped into the river Barrow, called on teenagers not to be pressurised into taking part in social media drinking games. Speaking on the Late Late Show Joe Byrne said: "I'm asking their parents to talk to them and find out if they're involved in this neknomination. They have to stand up and say 'no'." Mr Byrne said teenagers on social media are coming under pressure to take part in these sometimes lethal 'games'.

"Life is hard enough for youngsters. They're under so much pressure in life in general. They don't need this kind of thing in their lives."

Leading child psychotherapist Joanna Fortune last night echoed Mr Byrne's comments. She said teenagers are naturally wired for risk as well as living in the pressuring environment of a smart phone culture.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald also condemned the neknomination craze, saying: "It is evidence of our society's broader need to address our binge-drinking culture". She noted "inappropriate peer pressure element adds to the risks".

Tom Lenihan, the son of the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, who is also the president of the students' union in Trinity College, also warned of the dangers of the drinking craze. "We are asking students to break the chain of neknominations," he said.

Irish Independent

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