The “Choking Game”

Why would someone want to force themselves or a friend to faint? For the high. And how would they do it? By cutting of blood supply. This dangerous game is becoming more and more popular with teen girls.

How Choking Works

In many cases, choking is a group game. One or two teens hold the arterial veins on another teen's neck until she passes out, which causes a rush and a quick high. Other times, a teen puts his or her head down and hyperventilates until she passes out, experiencing the same high. To teens, what is happening seems funny and even fun: they barely do anything and get this crazy feeling. And the group dynamic of it can lead to peer pressure. Many parents are just as clueless that this is happening as their children are clueless of its dangers.

How to Talk about It

It all sounds silly and teens tend to think it is harmless, but quite the opposite is true. Choking not only kills brain cells; it can be immediately deadly. A good way to bring this up with your daughter is to ask her to read an article on a teen dying from the “choking game,” and then ask her what she thinks about it. You can lead in by admitting, “I have not heard much about this” or “I had no idea this went on. Have you heard of it happening in your social circle or at your school?” Using the magazine or Web article to start the conversation can make it a benign topic of conversation instead of an interrogation directed at her, and may help her to ask questions she'd be afraid to ask if you “knew” she was talking about herself. Such education can go a long way toward helping a girl realize a situation that just seemed fun was in fact, quite risky. In the end, understanding all these issues and their dangers and communicating them without sounding like a worrywart is the challenge. Parents of today's girls simply must be up to it.

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