#ChokingChallenge: The deadliest challenge yet…

Sophia Lee, Student Life Editor

From the Tide Pod challenge to the Cinnamon Challenge, one trend has shocked the internet by storm and has led to many fatalities: The Choking Challenge.

The Choking challenge, also known as the Rising Sun, Space Monkey, Flatliner, Gasp and other varieties of aliases, is a trend that occurred this year on social media. The purpose of the game, according to psychologist Raychelle C. Lohmann on ShareCare.Com, (a website that helps people achieve a healthier lifestyle), is “to cut off flow of blood to the brain resulting in lightheadedness and a euphoric high.”

The game is either played in a group or alone. If played in a group, the person agrees to get choked by another person with ropes, dog leashes, belts, scarves, and bags. If played alone, they would use any of the items to strangle themselves, resulting in premature death. The objective of this game is to reach a “tingling” sensation within the brain, and shut off the oxygen/blood. If done successfully, he or she will result in passing out. If not done successfully, or if the person decides to extend the time to 4-5 minutes, then the victim will suffer a fatal death.

Many death reports are from teens playing alone, due to not releasing the rope and other related causes. One common death report was from a fifteen year old organ donor, named Mason Bogard, who participated in the challenge. According to Stuff, the teen was found unconscious at his house on May 1, “We’ve learned that Mason attempted a challenge that he saw on social media and it went horribly wrong.” His mother, Joann Jackson Bogard, said in a Facebook post.

The teen’s family decided to donate his organs, “saying Mason would have wanted to save other people’s lives.” Bogard ended her statement by encouraging other parents to keep watch of what their child is doing on social media. “I know our kids always complain that we’re being too overprotective but it’s ok, it’s our job.”

This case was not the only one however. Last Thursday Carson Bodkins, a 5th grader in Colorado, was found dead in his bedroom after taking part of the game. If they had known about the game, his parents said to KOAA News, he’d still be alive. But now they’re telling every parent they can about the challenge and it’s dangers.

Another incident occurred with 9 year old Isaiah Mitchell, whom his parents found him “slumped inside a hall closet at home, a belt twirled around his neck.” “I’m like any other parent,” His father, Johnin Mitchell said to Courier & Press, ”I want my baby back. But that’s not going to happen.”

To better tell if a child is doing the choking challenge, they would have either have, according to West Bend:
1)Discussions of the choking game with friends or siblings,
2)Bloodshot eyes,
3)Unexplainable marks on the neck,
4)Frequent to severe headaches,
5)Disorientation after spending time alone, and
6)Choking items tied to any bedroom furnitures or doorknobs.

Because of this challenge, health professionals encourage parents to talk to their kids about challenges like this and how they’re life threatening. Another solution to the problem is a group called GASP (Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play). The group is a campaign created to fight off the spreading of the choking challenge through education. “The only way to stop the suffering,” Their brochure says, “Is to publicize the danger as we do with the use of alcohol and drugs.”

If you know anyone that has played the game, advise an adult immediately, as the organization says. “Together,we can stamp out this deadly game in your community.”