Is it peer pressure? Is it today’s trend? Is it meant to end their life?
Today’s teen games are not games at all, they can put their lives at risk and the consequences are extremely serious.
So why play at all?
Why do kids do anything? Why did we do anything when we were growing up? It’s part of life.
Let’s face it, it’s not our world anymore. Marijuana is not the pot of yesterday. The Internet has made it easier for our kids to meet those strangers that we only worried about with adorable dogs – now they are accessible 24/7 through screens. Are our kids mature enough to know when to click-out?
As parents, we have to be educated about what today’s trends are so we can constantly have discussions about these behaviors. Communication is key to awareness and prevention for safety offline and online.
What are these games?
PURPOSE: A thrill-seeking activity that produces a rush of excitement and adventure.
RESULT: Accidents due to Car Surfing, Ghost Riding and Skitching can result in brain trauma, skull fractures, spinal damage, broken bones, internal bleeding, paralysis and even death. In the medical literature the most common cause of death in these deadly games is head injury. High vehicular speeds are not required to sustain injury. Accidents and deaths have been reported from vehicle going anywhere between 5 and 80 miles per hour.
HOW IT’S PLAYED:
Car Surfing involves a teen riding on the exterior of a moving car that someone else is driving.
Ghost Riding is when the driver gets out of a moving vehicle to dance beside it while it continues to move forward.
Skitching is when a person is pulled behind a car on an object such as a skateboard.
YouTube and many other sites offers tips and video coverage of all of these dangerous vehicle games in action.
PURPOSE: To cut off flow of blood to the brain resulting in lightheadedness and a euphoric high.
RESULT: The death of thousands of brain cells which could lead to short-term memory loss, hemorrhage, harm to retina, stroke, seizures, coma and death (Neumann-Potash, 2006). Within 3 minutes of oxygen deprivation to the brain a person will suffer brain damage. Extend that to 4-5 minutes without oxygen and you get DEATH.
HOW IT’S PLAYED: The Choking Game can be played either alone or in a group. If played in a group, one teen willingly submits to being choked by a friend. Teens use ropes, scarves, belts, bags, dog leashes as a choking weapon. When the Choking Game’s played alone the need for a high can become deadly. Most deaths reported from the Choking Game are from loners. Oftentimes, these teens pass out and are unable to release the rope, etc. resulting in their premature death. And if that’s not enough you can easily find written instructions for the Choking Game or YouTube.
• Blood shot eyes
• Talking in code using the game’s alias names
• Locked doors
• Excessive need for privacy
• Disorientation after being left alone
• Frequent headaches
• Increased hostility or irritability
• Marks on the neck
• Unexplained presence of belts, scarves, bungee cords, or plastic bags
• Any of the above items tied to bedroom furniture, in closets, etc.
• Bleeding Spots under the skin on the face, especially under the eyelids.
PURPOSE: To inhale chemical vapors to get a feeling of lightheadedness and euphoria.
RESULT: Short-term use may mirror the symptoms of alcohol intoxication: Dizziness, hallucinations, impaired judgment, depression, slurred speech and irritability. Long-term effects can include: Death, permanent brain damage, irreversible organ damage, and cardiac arrhythmia.
HOW IT’S PLAYED: Breathing in a variety of inhalants. Other means of inhalant abuse are sniffing or snorting products or balloons or bags filled with inhalants. There are three types of commonly used inhalants:
Volatile Solvents – Examples include glue, paint thinner, felt-tip markers, and gasoline.
Aerosols – Examples include hair spray, deodorant, spray paint and vegetable oil cooking spray.
Gases – Examples include chemicals used in room deodorizers, propane, and butane (found in lighters).
• Slurred speech
• Chemical odors from breath
• Red and runny nose
• Sores present around mouth and nose
• Decrease in appetite
• Unexplainable clothes saturated with chemicals
• Chemical stains on clothes and or body
• Nausea and vomiting
Resources courtesy of Psychology Today.
If you suspect your teen is engaging in risky behavior, don’t hesitate in reaching out for help. Contact us for more information on residential therapy if your local resources have been exhausted or your teen refuses to get help.