What is the choking game?

ALIAS: Rising Sun, Space Monkey, Space Cowboy, Flatliner, Gasp, American Dream, Tingling, Blackout, Passout, Funky Chicken and Roulette.

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. Within 3 minutes of oxygen deprivation to the brain a person can suffer brain damage. Extend that time to 4-5 minutes without oxygen and death can result.

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 and 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. 
Michele Borba
The Choking Game is also known as the Fainting Game, Pass Out Game, Space Monkey and Black Out. The basic game rule is "asphyxiation" or for a child to get a desired "floaty", "tingling" or "high" sensation achieved by shutting off oxygen/blood to the brain.

Techniques to achieve that high include pressing the thumb or hand tightly on the neck; tying a rope, necktie, belt around the neck; hyperventilating by holding the breath "hard"; or putting a plastic bag over the head until you become unconscious. A secondary "high" is achieved when pressure is released and oxygen/blood returns to the brain.

The Choking Game can be "played" as a dare game in a group and has become popular at slumber parties. Kids take turns "choking" each other or another kid gives a hard bear hug from behind or applies pressure under the child's heart (usually with the head of the other participant) until the victim passes out.

Many kids say they actually become addicted to the feeling, repeating the thrill again and again. But the "game" has lethal consequences. Brain damage or permanent neurological disability due to the lack of oxygen is a possibility.
The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

More About this Book

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

Today show's Michele Borba's cures for difficult childhood behaviors In this down-to-earth guide, parenting expert Michele Borba offers advice for dealing with children's difficult behavior and hot...
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Eighty-two children have died since 1995 from playing the choking game, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Watch this video as Dr. Oz and pathologist Dr. Jan C. Garavaglia discuss how dangerous the choking game can be.

Continue Learning about Children's Health

For Healthier Kids, Just Add Water
For Healthier Kids, Just Add Water
Clear, clean, cold water. A revealing study from New York City’s public schools shows that this basic beverage can help kids lose weight and get healt...
Read More
What are some positive sides to my child’s chronic illness?
Although there are many negatives about chronic conditions, there is a surprising number of positive...
More Answers
Secrets for Perfect Attendance
Secrets for Perfect AttendanceSecrets for Perfect AttendanceSecrets for Perfect AttendanceSecrets for Perfect Attendance
Experts share their tips for keeping kids healthy all school year.
Start Slideshow
Do Children Need Multivitamins?
Do Children Need Multivitamins?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.