The Choking Game

This is a game played by teenagers and it's a game that does exactly what it says on the tin. The game involves teenagers choking each other to the point of collapse, to get high. It's also called The Good Kid's High as it's perceived as the good kid's alternative to doing drugs.

Now this is not a new game, it is a game that has been with us for generations, I'm told. I was not aware of this as I had a very sheltered upbringing you know, given that I was raised in a working class area on Dublin's north side! In my day the worse thing you could do was smoke. Or get pregnant! Drugs were around alright but not to the extent that they are today. I was of course aware that adults and celebrities partook in this shocking "game". Call me naive but I was not aware there was a "high" involved.

I was choked once.

I certainly didn't feel high afterward...or anything like it.

This is the video that brought this "game" to my attention. I was totally shocked by it and could only watch it once as I find it really distressing.

This Sky News report shows the immediate aftermath of some children being choked, but for obvious reasons does not divulge the precise methods used. You see them shimmy to the floor and then flailing about, as their friends are laughing in the background at the "hilarity" of it all.

It ends on a report about a child who died as a result of this game. The parents had no idea he was involved in such a frightening activity, but they did notice he had previously been listless and sleeping a lot.

There are more stories of children dying and of some being permanently disabled. It is strongly suspected that this 15 year old was brain damaged as a result of playing this game. (WARNING: this is another video I found distressing.)

In this aforementioned US report the 15 year old was without oxygen for only 3 to 5 minutes. He was found alone so no-one can be sure, but the Doctors strongly suspect he had been playing this game. Either alone or with friends.... and they ran off. After watching both these reports I wondered if not only friends carry out this horrific activity but if a group of bullies would coerce  a child that they are bullying into trying it? Perhaps as some kind of "acceptance" ritual........ so that they would video it, YouTube it and "have a laugh". My recent experience with children and how they can bully others via their Nintendo consoles, has made me more aware of  the bullying potential of ANY activity.

This reporter says that children play this "game" in groups OR on their own which is far, far more dangerous, as they are less likely to be found quickly.  The reporter also points out that it's not only teenagers playing this game. Children as young as 9 have been involved.

I find that truly shocking.

All reports I've seen warn parents to talk to their children. NOW.

The children are not afraid to talk about this game in front of their parents and even use the term The Choking Game. There are lots of other names for it, for example: Space Monkey, Cloud Nine, The Purple Dragon, Rising Sun, Roulette and Funky chicken etc.

Have any of those terms been used in your house recently??

An example of  the signs to look out for are: Depression like symptoms along with bloodshot eyes, complaints of headaches,  marks on the neck, even questions about the effects of strangulation, locked doors and disorientation after spending time alone .

Sound familiar??

Read here for more information about this disturbing game .....In 2008 it was estimated that between 250 and 1000 children die from playing this game each year (US figures, I think.). See here also, for more facts (read the PDF document).

I always warn WiiBoy about putting his hands around anyone's neck....either in play OR in anger...... especially in anger. There was an incident when he was younger that knocked me for six. It turned out he was only doing to someone what someone else had done to him. That gave me some know he got it from someone else and didn't just decide to do it himself. Obviously we worked hard on anger as a result. He still sometimes goes to put his hands around my neck (even typing this freaks me out)in anger but usually stops short. It's not a big problem anymore though, as I've told him my story. He now understands it doesn't take much to seriously hurt someone by doing this.........

Years ago, in MY teenage years,  I was walking through a local park, hand-in-hand with my then boyfriend, the love of my life! As I thought at the time. I was so young and foolish then! We were messing and slagging each other as we walked along. We stopped in a green clearing, with bushes in the centre. There was no-one else around.

I said something and my then boyfriend, jokingly, put his hands around my neck.

I don't remember feeling any pressure whatsoever.

I must have shimmied to the ground, because all I do remember is flailing about as I came to.

There was no-one laughing at the "hilarity" of it all. Tears were shed instead.

I certainly did NOT feel high afterwards. I felt sick and weak.

I even feel sick writing about it now, over 25 years later.

It was a very scary thing to happen, for both of us and it could just as easily have ended differently. Thankfully, I lived to tell the tale but I have often wondered how much more pressure would it have taken for me not to wake up? What would have happened then? There was no-one around and there were bushes nearby..........

I know there is  lots of   controversy  surrounding the death of  Robert Holohan . This 11 year old boy (with ADHD) died tragically at the hands of his 20 year old neighbour, Wayne O'Donoghue, in Cork, December 2005. The main controversy seems to have been about how precisely he died. The defendant said that he died accidentally. He had thrown stones at his (Wayne's) car and there was some "horseplay" involved whereby Wayne had Robert in a headlock. He subsequently lost consciousness and died. Accidentally.

Now, I am NOT getting into the ins and outs of this case. All I want to say is that, due to my personal experience I have always accepted that it was very possible for this poor child to have died accidentally in this manner. All it took was a little more pressure to have been exerted in just the precise spot, for it to occur.

There were, of course other possibilities put forward and Wayne's actions AFTER the event were totally unforgivable. But I am NOT getting into all of that! I just want to point out how easy it can be to seriously hurt someone by accident.

In my case I like to think that my companion would not have acted in the same fashion, and he did have First Aid training.

So, please be on the lookout, and talk to your children NOW.

xx Jazzy


  1. Bloody hell jazzy. I cant even watch the videos.
    Im completly shocked by this, and I though i was up to date on what the kids might be getting up to!
    I dont know how im going to approach it with my 3 teens, but its something im going to have to do.
    Raising kids is such a scary job.

  2. Oh dear god, I know of this practise with Adults but have not heard that kids are doing it as well. I could just imagine bullies trying to get our kids to do it in order to get their kicks and our children would do it in order to fit in. This sends chills down my spine, it hasn't been mentioned in this house yet and I hope it never is!!

  3. It is frightening... I have heard of it being practiced by primary school children. They egg each other on - it is really scarey.
    I saw some boys playing on our green last summer...they were 7 - 12 year olds, and basically they all chased one person, knocked him to the ground and kicked him all over, including in his head. They thought this was a great can go wrong so easily. I just want to wrap mine up in cotton wool and never leave them out. Tommy is so easily influenced.

  4. Im not watching the videos, too upsetting.
    i remember this being played in the school yard when i was in primary school and i remember watchin a friend let another do it as they leaned against a tree and slid to the floor. I never found it funny though, and wouldnt join in. Really had no appeal to me.
    Its scary what kids can be doing and parents really have no idea unless they start stalking their own teenagers.
    Great blog val, really highlights the horrors

  5. I can't watch the clip. I had no idea about this, I will be talking to my son about this tomorrow. He knows how dangerous it is as he saw a child choke another child last summer and we talked about it then, but never talked of it being a game. I am speechless!! Jen.

  6. Jazzy, you're so right about how important it is for us to talk to our kids about this. As soon as I found out about it a few years ago, I sat down and talked to both of my sons about it. One of the kids at a local middle school (not theirs, but one nearby) had recently died from the "game." Horrible.

  7. This is horrid and simply terrifying to think that it is so popular and so rampant. It is great that you are helping to create awareness about this terrible practice/game because that is what parents need.

    It scares me to think that someone might try this on Griffin as he would be an easy target and he has no sense of danger. All I can do is to try and get it in his head that nobody is to put their hands on him no matter what...that it is NOT okay no matter who it is.

    Thank you for sharing Jazzy.

  8. Thanks for your comments and apologies again for hosting distressing videos! I included them to authenticate my blogpost.

    Good that you're going to speak to them AUD. Let me know if they share anything they've seen.

    It scares me too easy our guys might get sucked into it. Although I don't think WiiBoy would be pressurised...he's too bolshie, like his mum!! He might however CHOOSE to do it. Up to me to make sure he doesn't!

    That's horrible UNA. What gets into children at all to find that amusing?? Tell me, was this in Ireland you heard of this game being played?

    CLAIREH....... I am totally shocked. I cannot believe that you have seen this played in a Primary school here in Ireland. Although you are such a young thing :)) that would have happened over 10 years ago...right?? Thank you for sharing this Claireh.

    Good on ya JEN. Keep talking to him!!

    Gosh TANYA...... how scary to have something so tragic occur so close to home. Glad you talked to your boys and hope they got the message!

    Thanks again for your comments, they are much appreciated. xx Jazzy

  9. A certain girls secondary school very close to us had this problem only two months ago! 1st years doing it in the classroom between classes! There was uproar in the school about it!

    But then a local primary school had a problem two weeks ago with over the counter drugs being handed out by one kid in the yard to other kids - so I guess there are dangers out there regardless of what school your child is going too!

    Awareness is our only hope!

  10. between ten and fifteen years ago val. god when i out it like that I sound old. Its always been around, one of them pointless games that can hurt so many but still played by kids who think theyre older than they are

  11. gosh...didnt know this went on at all...hope i never hear about it happening here but tanx for the heads up....only thing like that i remember is michael hutchence from inxs (rip) doin it as a sexual act to get a high...somethin i havent tried no funky chicken just chicken full stop...why wud anyone want to be a parent these days always new ways to cause harm to man be easy prey if anyone decided to try it on him...will have to wise him up...thanks jazz....

  12. Truly shocking! You are right Jazzy, talking about and showing the dangers is key.

    Your own experience must have been very traumatic. Things can go wrong so easily!

  13. Here's an update of some FB Comments I received:

    FB pal GD says:

    Can I come in here with my Grandmother hat on?

    Every generation of children finds new ways to endanger each other's lives. Frankly, I am surprised so many of them survive.

    Be vigilant, but be GLAD you are aware of this particular new trend, because when you are unaware that your kids may be endangering each other, it just means you haven't found them out , not that they are safe....

    Ok, now you are all sitting comfortably, stand by for some uncomfortable facts:
    Being "choked" is painful and takes a long time...but accidental pressure on the caritoid artery, can be virtually painless and lead to almost instant loss of consciousness, or worse. (That is what probably happened to Jazzygal).

    Aspie or not, I really don't quite know how to spit the next bit out, but, to the best of my (totally theoretical, apart from having emphysema) knowledge, breath restriction causes a purely sexual if you DO find that you kids have been playing these games I think you woud do well to probe what that might be about.

    Also, a final caveat, sometimes, catching the parents blogging this stuff can BE what causes kids to experiment (I know, vicious circles, but it had to be said).

    So kids, if you ARE "eyewigging", don't play this game unless you are really cool with explaining why your friend doesn't have a pulse anymore, because you put your hand in the wrong place and didn't realise in time.

    My response to GD:

    Thanks for your very frank comment G and to be very honest.....I can't fault any of it.

    Vicious circle I know but I hope more parents read it than kids. I know my child won't be reading it.

    It is also true to say, and this thought had already been in my head, that EXPLAINING it to them could even give them the idea to experiment. In fact I think explaining it has more of a chance of causing this than reading blog (less will read blog) But explain it and highlight it we must. Taking all things into consideration, I guess.

    And let me add here GD.....thanks for explaining what happened to me all those years ago!

    Another FB pal has had experience of similar scary issues with her son which is thankfully resolved now.

    My teenage (well, just out of his teens!) pal just out of the secondary school system finds it all very strange and has no knowledge of this happening in his school/peer group.

    Yet CLIVE reports an incident occuring in a school(close enough to my teen pal) only 2 months ago?? Thanks for comment CLIVE. I am truly shocked to hear both your reports.

    Thanks also SESAME for your comment and may I hope you never have to deal with it in your school. Thanks also for your fb comment...nother example of the conflicting stories here where someone of our age remembers it happening in his school. For the record, Mr Jazzy has never heard of it either. I was going to reference Michael Hutchence in my post but removed it as there were different circumstances given that Depression was a possible factor in his case.

    Thanks NAN P for your comment too.

    xx Jazzy

  14. I've heard of this, BUT it didn't dawn on me until reading the part about the boy being placed in the headlock and choking to death, that horseplay of that nature could end tragically. My children often put each other in headlocks, playing, but I'm definitely putting an end to that after reading this. Thanks for stopping by my place and leave such an encouraging comment!

  15. Thanks for return Visit and comment MoM! The headlock was what the defendant SAID happened but no-one knows what actually occured that horrible day, just after Christmas 5 years ago. Personally, I suspect that the defendant grabbed the child by the throat , without meaning to cause any real hurt, but exerted just a little too much pressure. Better to play safe though, eh MoM??!!

    Thanks again. xx Jazzy

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  17. My gosh that is a real eye opener, great post, I had no idea it was a game amongst teenagers. But isn't it how Michael Hutcheson died (INXS)?

  18. Thanks for comment Irish Mammy. yes it is how Michael Hutchence died but I removed the reference I had to him in my draft as it is understood that depression played a part. However, it was the choking game he was playing........ alone! And that's a big worry for these kids as i refer to in the post...they are less likely to be found quickly if they it alone . xx Jazzy


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