How do I protect my child from the NekNominations drinking game?

By Drum Digital
24 February 2014

If you have teenage children in your house you may already know what NekNominations are. Experts say it’s anything but a harmless game. So far at least five people have been killed by the daredevil tricks they’ve got up to. We tell you what you should know about it.

What are NekNominations?

It’s an online game, and as is the case with most internet fads its origin is unknown. Some say an Englishman, Ross Samson, started it as a joke on Christmas Day by nominating a friend to have a drink; others say it began in Australia.

This is how it works

Someone drinks a drink in the most ridiculous way he or she can think of, makes a video of it, loads it onto Facebook and nominates someone to do better.

The nominee has 24 hours in which to respond in a manner that’s preferably more impressive than the first person’s video.

Apparently the amount you drink is less important than how and where you drink. Some people have stood upside down while others have drunk drinks while wearing only their underwear. But there have been many videos of people knocking back strong drink as if it were cooldrink.

Why is it dangerous?

All five NekNominationdeaths were a result of alcohol poisoning or drowning. Jonny Byrne (19), of Ireland, jumped into the Barrow river after knocking back his drink.

Russel Meiring, an ER24 coordinator and paramedic, says your body doesn’t have enough time to process alcohol you’ve drunk too fast. That’s why you consume more than you can cope with. He says it takes from 20 minutes to an hour for alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream, depending on the drinker.

“Even when the effect of the drink starts showing, some of it is still in the stomach and has yet to be absorbed.” He says this can lead to alcohol poisoning or accidents as a side-effect of the drink – on the road or in water – because a high alcohol level is linked to irresponsible and risky behavior.

What do young people say about it?

Caroline Bursey (18), a matriculant at a girls’ school in East London, says she’s been nominated twice but declined to participate. “I’m a prefect and at the beginning of the year we all decided not to drink while we were still at school because it’s against school rules.

“But I also think it’s stupid to put something like this on a social network because it can count against you when you apply for a job or even for admittance to a university.”

What can parents do?

Meiring says appropriate education is crucial. “Young people often don’t realise how dangerous it is to consume so much alcohol. It’s not only alcohol poisoning that can cause deaths; the behavior that goes with alcohol can also be life-threatening.” So talk to your children and make sure they know what the result could be.

What to do when your child has drunk too much?

ER24 paramedic David da Silva says you should immediately turn the person on their side and make sure nothing is obstructing their throat.

Make sure they haven’t swallowed their tongue or vomited. Monitor their breathing and don’t try to make them vomit or give them something to drink if they’re unconscious as they might choke.

Call an emergency service immediately. “Many people think they should leave someone in this situation to sleep it off, but this can be a life-threatening mistake. After he’s had too much to drink his body may not be able to process the alcohol. It’s also possible he has taken in something more than alcohol, which increases the risk,” says Da Silva.

-Dalena Theron


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