College kids do a lot of dumb shit—as anyone who has ever been one can tell you—but a new study suggests co-eds these days are doing something particularly stupid: playing the Choking Game.
For the uninitiated, the Choking Game—which also goes by other terrifying names like the Fainting Game, Pass Out, and Space Monkey—is pretty simple to "play." You can do it alone or with friends. Basically, you choke yourself (or have someone else choke you), stick a plastic bag over your head, and then tie a string around your neck or hyperventilate. It's so easy only an idiot could—or would—do it!
So why would you ever want to do something like that? Because it gives you a few seconds of feeling euphoric. It works by cutting off the blood supply to your brain, which produces a temporary high, but can also obviously kill you if you do it wrong.
Of course, people have known how to do this type of thing for a long time, but it seems to have gotten particularly popular lately because, according according to the study, it's a low-cost way to entertain oneself:
This "game," as it is often called, does not require obtaining any drugs or alcohol, is free, and can go undetected by many parents, teachers, physicians, and other authority figures.
It just has the one unfortunate drawback of being potentially deadly. But researchers at Sam Houston State University in Texas found that wasn't dissuading kids from playing it:
-16% of students said they'd played the game, and three-quarters more than once
-On average, students first played the game at age 14
-Males were more likely to have played than females
-90% of students who had played the game learned about it from friends, and most students said they first played in a group
Apparently a lot of the kids don't realize that it can be just as deadly as taking drugs. The one bright spot is this: "learning that a number of teens and college students have suffocated to death from playing the Choking Game helped deter students from playing." So, if you find yourself around any teenagers, you might want to remind them—even if it seems like it should be totally self-evident—that the Choking Game can kill you dead.
Image via Masson/Shutterstock.