Neknominate is a new drinking game that is believed to have caused the deaths of at least five people. The name of the dangerous activity that is currently hugely popular on social media is derived from the words ‘neck’ and ‘nominate’.
Neknominate involves participants making a video of themselves drinking a pint of a strong alcoholic beverage (usually a cocktail). This video is then uploaded on to somewhere like YouTube, and two other friends (sometimes three) are nominated to do the same. The videos can soon go viral, and it means potentially thousands of people involved in this lethal drinking game. Those who are nominated have the option of responding with a challenge within 24 hours, usually involving a stronger drink.
It is thought that the neknominate drinking game originated in Australia, but the popularity of social media means that it has become an almost worldwide phenomenon. So far, it has cost the lives of five people, all aged under thirty, and it is very likely to kill more. The problem is that people become drunk quickly when playing these games, meaning that they are unable to recognise how much danger they are in from these strong concoctions. These cocktails usually contain a combination of very strong spirits and the strength of these drinks can prove to be too much for some individuals.
Drinking games existed long before the internet was born, but it seems that social media is making many more reckless than ever. The issue is that individuals can make these videos and briefly become celebrities around the world. The idea of having so many people involved in these drinking games means that young people are even more willing than usual to take risks. There is also more of a feeling of embarrassment involved when it comes to turning down one of these challenges.
Drinking games like neknominate can lead to all sorts of problems for the individuals involved. Although this is an activity usually associated with younger people, there are plenty of examples of older individuals getting involved as well. Bearing this in mind, some of the more serious dangers associated with this type of game include:
- the fact that these concoctions tend to be so strong means there is a high risk of alcohol poisoning
- triggering the first stage of alcoholic liver disease
- drinking this way makes it more likely to develop problems with alcoholism
- by becoming so inebriated while playing this game means individuals are more likely to have accidents
- leading to promiscuous sex and a higher risk of STDs and unplanned pregnancies
- getting drunk means a higher risk of committing crimes or becoming the victim of crime
- drinking large amounts of alcohol in short period of time can lead to memory blackouts
- leading to hangovers and lost productivity
- feeling too sick to work
- triggering domestic abuse
- leading to depression and possibly suicide
- doing things in these videos that they later deeply regret
- encouraging binge drinking
- performing badly at school/college, which would have an impact on future career opportunities.
It is no secret that drinking games are incredibly dangerous but people continue to engage in this behaviour. The problem is that young adults in particular tend to feel invincible. It is only when they hear about friends dying that they start to realise the real dangers. There are some calls for social media sites like Facebook and YouTube to do more to prevent these videos. We shall see what happens.