A Game Gone Wrong: The Choking Challenge

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

On May 5, a teen from Indiana died attempting the viral “choking challenge.” The infamous challenge has been given many nicknames, such as the dream game, flatliner and cloud nine.

The challenge is extremely dangerous for anyone who takes part in it. Basically, the person participating in the game strangles themself in order to feel a sort of “high” in the place of taking pot or other drugs. The high is the result of oxygen rushing back to the brain after their breathing abilities are cut off. The game is addictive and dangerous, as the body twitches due to the brain having a seizure. At this point, the brain damage taking place cannot be reversed - ten minutes without oxygen will cause death.

The government and various social media networks are not taking this issue seriously. 82 children between the ages of six and 19 have died from the choking game between 1995 and 2007. Also, government officials are labeling these deaths as suicides while the media refuses to shut down the videos of teenagers participating in the challenge.

The craze started when kids began competing to see who could remain under a chokehold and resist passing out the longest. Others held their breath and allowed their friends to punch them in the chest while some purposefully hyperventilated after having someone push them up against a wall. When teenagers would try the challenge by themselves, they might throttle themselves with ropes, belts or other choking devices they might find.

There have been several instances of children either killing or strangling themselves from the game. One occasion occured in April of 2010 when 12-year-old Erik Robinson wrapped a rope around his neck and hung it from the pull-up bar in the kitchen of his Santa Monica, Calif. apartment. Robinson experienced the moment of lightheadedness and euphoria after temporarily cutting off the flow of blood and oxygen through his body.

Erik’s mother found his body in full cardiac arrest soon after with a boy scouts rope bound tightly around his neck. Two days later, he was pronounced dead in the hospital.

Most deaths that have resulted from the challenge, including Erik’s, have been labeled as accidents. The federal government no longer studies choking game deaths, and national data is no longer available regarding the topic.

If you or anyone you know attempts to participate in this challenge, please tell an adult. Do not be a victim of this game.


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