Neknomination Deadly Drinking Game Takes Off on Internet

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"This allows kids to think through the issue before they're in a difficult situation," she said. "Asking works better than telling. Good questions include: Why do you think some kids are drawn to this? Have you heard of anyone doing this? How hard do you think it would be to turn down this kind of dare? The worst risk of this game is death from alcohol poisoning, but what do you think might be some other risks?"

Kennedy-Moore, author of "Smart Parenting for Smart Kids," said that many factors contribute to the "draw" of this drinking game, one of which is "nothing bad will happen to me."

"The publicness of the dares brings up the issue of saving face," she said. "To back away from the dare could feel like publicly announcing, 'I'm not man enough!'

"Parents worry about peer pressure in the sense of someone trying to force their kids to do something they don't want to do," Kennedy-Moore said. "Research tells us that kind of overt pressure is actually quite rare. It's a sign of conflict and makes it less likely the kid will go along with it. The bigger problem is more subtle forms of peer influence in the forms of modeling, laughing, encouraging, approving."

Parents should encourage positive friendships and teens and young adults will be less likely drawn to the game, she said.

Neknomination may not be all that different from other games to which young people have been dangerously drawn and perished.

Dale Galloway of Silva, N.C. lost a 12-year-old son to the choking game in 2007 and has since become president of the Dangerous Behaviors Foundation.

"The [neknomination] game doesn't surprise me," he said. "There wasn't even Internet involved in my son's death, just word of mouth."

Galloway said he remembered a drinking game called "century club" from his days in college, 25 years ago.

"You had to take 100 shots every minute on the minute," he said.

But drinking games like neknomination have the "potential to spread so many more places," he said. "The speed is phenomenal."

"It's on us as parents, and for educators, law enforcement and medical professionals to understand what the consequences are," Galloway said. "You really can't control people's willingness to engage in risky situations, especially when you are dealing with an entity like the Internet."

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