Neknominate, a drinking game which may have started in Australia, has gained popularity worldwide and has now led to at least five deaths of men under the age of thirty. Now medical professionals are warning other young adults about something they should already know: drinking large amounts of alcohol at one time can be deadly.
So what is Neknominate? It involves drinking a large quantity of alcohol, posting pictures of it online and challenging your friends to do the same or to outdo you. Friends who take the challenge often fall victim to the downside of alcohol- the inability to recognize that you may be in danger and the clarity to react to the danger.
The proliferation of social media has made what might have been an isolated game of Neknominate grow in popularity, creating an atmosphere where each new participant drinks more varied drinks and competes in more dangerous, daring and outlandish ways. Participants of Neknominate also have the thrill of sharing their daring behavior online with hundreds of other friends in just seconds.
Drinks turn dangerous in Neknominate
Not to be outdone in Neknominate, the drinks that people are consuming are also becoming more and more bizarre. Videos now contain individuals consuming drinks with a variety of unsanitary and gross additives such as dog food, engine oil, goldfish, insects and toilet water. Gross.
Some have started to question whether schools could do more to discourage Neknominate, although I was hoping my kids teachers would be focusing on teaching my kids reading, writing and arithmetic and leave the parenting to me.
A better question is, Where are the parents? Before asking whether schools could play a bigger role, it seems we should ask whether parents could do more to discourage and equip young adults to resist peer pressure.
But maybe it will take a village. As a parent I never thought I would have to tell any kid over the age of two not to drink toilet water, but maybe I do. I found myself telling my son not to ever crunch up Smarties and snort them, something else I thought he would already know, but there you go. So if the schools can help spread the message and still educate our kids - it might be a good idea.
A better question, however, is when did our kids lose all common sense? Did this happen in the 1990s? To reiterate an earlier point, my parents didnt have to tell me not to drink engine oil. I figured this out on my own.
Do companies have responsibility to stop games?
Other parents are suggesting that companies such as Facebook have a responsibility to suppress videos which support this trend. What is Facebooks stance?
Facebook said in a statement: "We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but behavior which some people may find offensive or controversial is not always necessarily against our rules. We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action on a case by case basis."
But do we want Facebook to be the video police? Unfortunately, in this age of stupidity, bullying, aggressive behavior, and Neknominate we might need all the help we can get.