5.7% of teenagers have participated in "choking game"

From the NYTimes:

During "choking game" adolescents try to achieve a high by briefly depriving the brain of oxygen through strangulation. The "game" is extremely dangerous and could lead to brain damage, long-term neurological disability and death.

According to the recent survey of more than 10,642 eighth graders in Oregon, 36.2 percent reported having heard of the choking game, 30.4 said they had heard of someone participating in it and 5.7 percent said they had participated themselves.

Many adults are unaware of the many names the game goes by — including “Knock Out,” “Space Monkey,” “Flatlining” or “The Fainting Game” — and the warning signs:

- bloodshot eyes
- marks on the neck that may look like hickies
- frequent severe headaches
- disorientation after spending time alone
- ropes, scarves and belts discarded on the floor or tied to bedroom furniture and doorknobs

Choking Game No Mystery to Children, Oregon Study Finds. NYTimes, 2010.
Small Town Story: Nebraska Boy Dies Playing 'The Choking Game' http://goo.gl/gy5V
Choking game claims lives of two Chicago girls - chicagotribune.com http://goo.gl/AOgU
Image source: The vulnerable carotid artery, (large, red tube), and the vagus nerve running parallel on its left. Wikipedia, public domain.

Updated: 08/12/2010


  1. I remember this going around my school 25 years ago. It did not involve choking, rather taking several quick breaths. I will leave out the rest to avoid copy-cats. Same effect and equally as stupid.

  2. What the commenter above describes sounds like hyperventilation to induce "buzz".

    The "choking game" is much more serious, in fact, it is often deadly.

  3. No buzz, just lack of oxygen, then someone squeezes you and you pass out. I was 10. and a girl did it to me. I did not think it would work. But clearly I was mistaken. Probably not as serious as the "choking" game, but still not something 10 year olds should be doing to each other.