CAIRO: Six Egyptian teenagers have died while playing a dangerous game dubbed by teenagers as “the choking game.
The victims were found dead, hanging from a rope. While initially termed suicide, after intensive investigation, it was determined that the victims died while playing the choking game.
Using everything from shoelaces to belts and bike chains, teens cut off the oxygen flow to the brain, which creates a tingling sensation, or a high. Just as they are about to lose consciousness, they let go of the rope. The danger comes when participants pass out before they let go of the rope, causing them to choke to death while unconscious.
The initial ruling of suicide in the case of the six Egyptian victims caused the police to poke into their family life and the general public to condemn the parents. The victims’ parents feel that the new ruling of accidental death should have been the ruling from the start.
“My son did not commit suicide, of that I am 100 percent sure, said the single father of one of the victims, a boy, on the popular satellite show, Al-Qahira Al-Youm, on Tuesday. “I raised my son alone, and you can say that we were good friends, best friends, and I know he would never kill himself.
According to the father of the victim, his son was a healthy, social boy who was on his school water polo team and was quite religious.
“He would never do something so foolish as to kill himself, and why would he? He had a good life, he was sportive, he knew God, there is no doubt in my mind that this was not a suicide, his father reiterated via a live phone interview on television.
The choking game has become a terrifying trend, not only in Egypt, but also worldwide. In a U.S. survey, a majority of teens and preteens reported either having heard of the game or seen their friends play it. For these thrill-seeking teens, this game provides the excitement and appeal that computer games and roller coaster rides no longer hold.
“It looks cool, and my friend who played it said that the feeling was great, said a 17-year-old Egyptian student who asked not to be named. “I never tried it, and now I don’t think I want to, but yeah, lots of my friends have heard of it or know someone who has played it.
The real danger behind this game is that, unlike drunk driving, teen violence and drug use, the choking game, also called the passing out game, the fainting game and the space monkey, among other names, isn t illegal and is easily hidden from parents. However, the consequences are just as deadly, as the parents of the six victims know too well.
While parents usually look out for signs in their children of drug use, drinking and other dangerous activities; there are no tests, no tip off for parents of such a potentially fatal game, until now.
Al Qahira Al Youm, on par with local, international and satellite channels, is bringing news of this game and its dangers to light, so that parents all over the world can educate their children about such games and hopefully spot the clues before it is too late.
Some of the warning signs include bloodshot eyes, belts or ropes with unusual knots, ropes tied to furniture, complaints of headaches and unusual marks around the neck, the latter of which was a strongly suggestive clue that the father of one of the Egyptian victims missed.
“I saw the marks around his neck, and I asked him about it and he said they were love bites, said the father of one of the victims. “I didn’t think of it as a clue. I should have, I should have. God gave me the clue and I missed it.
The father of the victim wants people to know that this game is widespread in Egypt, and that parents should be highly suspicious of their kids’ explanations of certain clues, no matter how convincing the explanation is.
More information on the choking game is available on the Internet.