by Camille McDaniel, LPC, CPCS
Every generation has dangerous games that are played by a select few. These games encourage adrenaline rushes, can give you a feeling of being invincible, and sometimes test the boundaries between life and death. These games often pop up when people are searching for more in their life. More than just sharing a good laugh over interests and people, riding bikes, jumping rope, climbing trees, playing sports, boards games, and video games. Unfortunately, that’s just not exciting enough for some. Don’t get me wrong, I like a little excitement and spontaneity in my life but I also cherish my life, which I know is a gift.
I do not believe there is just one contributing factor to the games that are played these days. Instead, it is a combination of a desire to test limits and boundaries, desensitization to harm, misinformation of health risks, lack of supervision, devaluing of life, and I assume you can come up with other reasons on your own.
The devaluing of life and desensitization to harm really stand out for me as I write this post. First, that one would find excitement in the possibility of a game that could end your life. When you think about this for a moment, do you desire your last moments on this earth to be captured in you passing out on the floor as others laugh at you or as your flesh burns in flames as you run around and/or roll on the ground? Second, I have noticed that many of these games are being video recorded by someone else who never puts the camera down, even when the situation calls for it. These games don’t just reflect “kids being kids”. No, they are a reflection of our ever changing world and our connection with human life.
Here are few of the games making the news:
Pass Out Game (aka – blackout, suffocation roulette, flatliner, and space monkey) – This deadly “game” involves strangling yourself or having someone else do it to cut off the oxygen supply to the brain, causing a brief high. Teens use their hands, noose, or other objects to cut off oxygen.
Fire Challenge Game – a dare game in which the participant applies flammable liquids to parts of their body and then sets themself on fire for a short period of time, while filming the outcome (interesting that in these challenges nobody films until the very end to show what their body looks like afterwards).
Older games that are still being tried:
The Cinnamon Challenge – This unusual challenge has been shown in countless YouTube videos. It involves swallowing a spoonful of powdered cinnamon without taking a drink of water. The spice dries out the inside of your mouth, making it nearly impossible for anyone to succeed. Others have coughing fits after breathing in the fine powder. In rare cases, people are hospitalized after inhaling powder into the lungs.
Car Surfing – Standing on the roof of a moving car. Deaths were usually related to head trauma
So what can be done about this? Here’s a good start.
1. Communicate regularly as a family about everything – Share your life and ask questions. Make family communication a regular routine and bring up any topic that you feel needs to be addressed. Children and teens have expertise on things that go on at their age level. They can teach their parents about what is going on in the world of children and teens and parents can look things up online to stay informed.
2. Speak greatness into your children and their future – Make sure they know their life has value, say it regularly. Help them understand they have God-given gifts and talents that were placed within them that the world needs at every stage of their life. Point out some of the talents and gifts that you already see within them. They don’t have to prove to themselves or others that they are strong, courageous, or daring by engaging in these dangerous games. They can stand strong in knowing that they were gifted with a measure of strength, intelligence, and courage from the very beginning.
3. Know who your children hang out with and be involved – Everything is so distant these days. With technology today, people are texting other people’s parents to ask if their child can come over to play or hang out. Teens arrange outings and let their parents know where they are going and when they will return. Parents have to talk to other parents, hear their voice, ask questions, and know what is really going on.