A study, newly released shows about 6 percent of 8th graders have participated in the "choking game." The game, so to speak, is being played by kids as young as 6 years of age all across the country.
It works when a person or a peer applies pressure to the throat in a choking manner. Once the pressure is released, a rush or a "high" follows.
The study that sampled more than 5,000 students in Oregon determined that about two thirds of those who admitted to playing the game, did so more than once.
Dr. Nancy Bass specializes in pediatric neurology at University Hospital. Despite the data having been compiled in Oregon, she says she's seen the behavior here in Northeast Ohio.
The problem seems to be picking up popularity on social media sites like YouTube. And while many of the home videos feature giggling teens Dr. Bass says the choking game is no laughing matter.
"This is not a game. It shouldn't be called the choking game its something you can die from," Dr. Bass said. Between 1995 and 2007, 82 children died playing the game.
But Dr. Bass believes deaths related to the choking game have gone underreported.
"I've been practicing for 15 years I've seen probably five kids who've probably died of the choking game."
Dr. Bass says parents should begin talking to their kids about the dangers. She says many times parents don't know what to look out for.
"Every parent I've ever dealt with that has a child who has died from this has said if I only knew what the warning signs were."
Here's a quick list of things of warning signs:
- Changes in school work/behavior
- Chronic headaches
- Blood shot eyes
- Marks on the neck
- Changes in personality
- Scarfs or string tied on bedposts
- Hearing thuds in the night