Segment 900 for Family Album
Topic: Increasing deaths from “choking game”
Written by: Donna Davis
Reviewed by: Suzanna Smith
Date written: February 20, 2008
Welcome to another page in the Family Album and the snapshots of our changing
families. I’m Donna Davis.
Children have always been known to do some crazy things. Recall the game of
Russian Roulette? Unfortunately, there’s a new game in town that’s equally terrifying
and growing in popularity. It’s called the “Choking Game,” although it’s also known as
the “blackout game,” “pass-out game,” “scarf game,” “space monkey,” and others.
According to a recent report from the CDC, the choking game “is defined as self-
strangulation or strangulation by another person with the hands or a noose to achieve a
brief euphoric state” (p. 141) that’s caused when the brain does not get adequate oxygen.
The CDC analyzed 12 years of news reports of deaths caused by the choking game and
found 82 probable deaths among children between the ages of 6 and 19. The average
child was 13-years-old. The CDC points to the need to make parents, educators and
health-care providers aware of the warning signs that youth are playing this game.
According to the CDC report, adults should look for the following signs:
“mention of the choking game; bloodshot eyes; marks on the neck; frequent, severe
headaches; disorientation after spending time alone; and ropes, scarves, and belts tied to
bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor” (p. 143). They also
recommend that more research needs to be done to determine youth awareness and
involvement of this deadly game and to determine prevalence, risk factors, and protective
factors that can help reduce or eliminate future tragedy.
Listening, learning and living together, it’s the science of life. “Family Album” is
a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family,
Youth and Community Sciences and of WUFT-FM. If you’d like to learn more, please
visit our website at familyalbumradio.org.
CDC, MMWR Weekly. February 15, 2008. Vol. 57 (06); 141-144. Retrieved on February
28, 2008 online from www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5706al.htm
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