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The dangerous game your kids could be playing

The fatal game making a comeback among kids and teens has many names. It is most commonly known as 'The Choking Game' and it is on the rise across the country. (KBOI)

The fatal game making a comeback among kids and teens has many names. It is most commonly known as 'The Choking Game' and it is on the rise across the country.

“I think it’s probably driven by a desire for excitement and the euphoria that is supposedly supposed to come out of losing consciousness and I think those are unknown areas for kids,” said Cynthia Campbell, Developmental Psychologist and Professor at Boise State University.

The game involves kids choking each other and breathing rapidly and heavily for almost a minute, or until they pass out.

Then they wake up, triggering an apparent high.

But waking up isn't always guaranteed.

“I guess they get a high from this, kids get a high from this," said Dr. Jennifer King M.D., a pediatrician at St. Alphonsus. "But of course at their age they don’t realize that if it goes too far you could die from strangulation.”

The euphoria that supposedly comes from regaining consciousness isn't the only reason kids are putting themselves in danger.

Campbell says it's mainly the result of peer pressure and experimentation.

“Experimenting in and of itself isn’t always a bad thing. It’s when they engage in experimenting with things that are dangerous that’s where the problem lies, obviously.”

Studies show that kids aren't playing games like this alone. They're doing it in groups.

“They may not even support the idea but when you get a group of kids together, we all have a need to belong and be validated by others,” Campbell said.

Doctors advise to watch for signs that your kids have been engaging in this behavior.

“Parents should be looking for any bruising or marks around the neck that look like they could be from strangulation. Or anything wrapped too tightly around the neck. Bloodshot eyes that have no other explanation. Kids acting disoriented after periods of time by themselves,” Dr. King said.

Campbell says, the best way to keep your children safe is to teach them to not give in to pressure from their peers.

“Where we can teach our kids to have more agency, to take more of a stance and think for themselves, to say you know there could be alternative ways of handling this and when we model that thinking in alternative ways for our kids you know I think we can empower them to do some of that."


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