If you haven't already heard of the new trend NekNomination, you probably will soon. Teens and young adults across the country are doing crazy stunts while drinking, then posting a video of it online and tagging two of their friends. The content of these videos varies a great deal, but the most common themes are engaging in extremely risking activities while drinking alcohol or consuming something disgusting. For example, in one of the more popular videos a young man bites the head off of a dead chicken and puts out a cigarette on his tongue before chugging a bottle of vodka with the cigarette butt in it. The friends who are tagged are then supposed to post their own video in the next 24 hours, in which they try to outdo the person who tagged them. They then tag two new friends in their video and the cycle continues. It is easy to see how this could both catch the attention of young people and quickly get out of hand, and this is exactly what has happened. With numerous deaths already being reported, it is time for the public to become aware of this dangerous new behavior and start doing something about it. The question is, what can you do to stop something that is spreading virally over the internet and putting people in danger?
Making Drinking A Game Adds Risk
Looking past the individual concerns that NekNomination raises, it is also worth considering the unique dangers that drinking games as a whole present. Regardless of a person's individual views on alcohol, most would agree that it should be taken seriously. If a person chooses to consume alcohol, they should go in with the mindset that they will be doing it in a safe and responsible way. This is the opposite of how drinking games encourage someone to approach alcohol. When someone plays a drinking game, a person will almost always consume more than they had planned and at a much quicker rate. This type of binge drinking is much more harmful to a person's health than drinking in moderation. This is one of the main reasons that drinking games should be taken seriously and actively discouraged.
Encouraging Reckless And Irresponsible
In the case of NekNominations, many of the deaths that have occurred were due to the stunts that were attempted while the drinking was taking place. In a recent article published by the Telegraph, a specific case was brought up in which "One Northern Irish businessman who owns a game shoot on the County Antrim coast has, in recent days, been filmed slicing the head off a bird, swallowing a live goldfish in a pint of gin and jumping off a cliff into the sea." This is disturbing both due to the danger of this man's actions and the apparent indication that this is spreading beyond teens and young adults. While numerous deaths due to NekNominations have already been reported, this number is sure to grow along with the popularity of the game. So far incidents have remained relatively isolated, but as more attention shifts to this dangerous activity it is sure to encourage more to participate.
The Impact Of The Internet On Young People
One of the most important things that can be taken away from the popularity of NekNomination is the role the internet can potentially play in encouraging irresponsible and dangerous activities. In the past, something like NekNomination would have never been possible. With the advent of the internet, teens and young adults are much more susceptible to negative outside influence. In addition, it is important to consider the social pressure that the internet can put on young people to participate in dangerous games like NekNominations. For example, a person who is tagged in a NekNominations video will have this information available to all of their Facebook friends. Teens who find themselves in this situation might feel like they need to make a video so their entire social network doesn't look down on them. As we move forward and have technology become an increasingly large part of our lives, we must remember to take into account these types of unintended consequences. In the future, it may become necessary to find ways to protect teenagers from the impact that the internet and social media pressure can have.