Mom blog: Because I Said So! The choking game?

Mom Blogger Jacquelyn“What’s the choking game?” That was Luka’s first question in the car on the ride to school this morning. Hmmm, he was listening to the news in between reading a book and trying to sneak a peek at Pokemon. There was an item on new figures from a study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) saying that approximately seven per cent of students in grades 7 to 12 are taking part in various forms of the game. Luka is seven years old. He knows not to choke someone because you can die from choking. But what if it’s presented as something fun and exciting? What if Grade 7 is just the youngest grade that was tested, and the game slips well below that age level?

The point of the game is a drugless high: kids choke each other, or choke themselves, letting go at “the right time” to experience a light-headed, dizzy sensation. The sensation is the child’s oxygen-starved brain freaking out. The problem is kids don’t know “the best time” and when the efforts are self-inflicted, there’s no one to help or get help, and kids die. In a CTV story in February, U.S. figures reported 82 deaths in 12 years, and you can bet there are countless more.

I heard about this activity in the 80s, when it was largely tied to sexual arousal and called autoerotic asphyxiation. I had the great opportunity then to work at CBC Radio as a story producer for As It Happens when Al Maitland and Elizabeth Gray were hosts, and I pre-interviewed the parents of a boy who died this way. Heartbreaking.

Here are a couple of firsthand stories for you. Please check them out, then sit your kids down and talk.
Jeffrey David Peak, March 10, 1990 – November 7, 2004
Gabriel Harry Mordecai, July 31, 1991 – May 6, 2005
Nick Serna, October 7, 1988 – January 29th 2005, and a support group.

For educators or a group buy for your Parents’ Council, this video study program aimed at kids.

CAMH’s CAMH’s Mental Health and Well-Being Report, released yesterday, is getting the jump on Children’s Mental Health Week, which runs from May 3 to 10.

Guess what my blog theme is next week? You got it: mental health for kids. I’ll have a few book reviews, lots of links, and with luck and the power of persuasion, a few guest bloggers too.

Have that talk. Have a great weekend, and flip back next week for some insight on kids’ mental health.

Jacquelyn

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3 Responses

  1. What on earth is this world coming to

  2. I remember a version of that from the early 70s. Instead of choking the person who wanted to get the “rush” took several huge deep breaths really quickly, then let all their air out. Someone grabbed them from behind and held them around the middle so tightly they couldn’t get a breath in. If they held hard enough and long enough, the person fell down or passed out in the “rush”. Can’t say as I tried it, but I watched some other kids do it. Gawd, we were stupid.

  3. Weird.

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