Saturday, April 18, 2009

Teens and Suffocation Roulette, Blackout, Gasper, Space Monkey

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At least one third of what are reported as teen suicides - perhaps a thousand each year - are actually accidental strangulation during solo and group play. Sure, give the practice exciting and challenging names like tingler, twitcher, space cowboy, American dream and flatliner and the gullible teens will try it just because it is so forbidden. The practice, often thought to be safer than doing drugs, appeals to "smart" and "good" kids.

Those between the ages of 9 and 16 of both sexes - though most often male - are the ages most often drawn to it. But the warm fuzzy feeling that supposedly is the "payoff" in reality is the result of brain cells dying by the thousands. The cheap laugh friends get is hardly worth the damage that can be done. Teens of course often give in to peer pressure, but life is worth far more than being popular with a few idiots. The practice can lead to silent strokes, seizures and even heart attacks.

Usually, the game is done in groups at parties, sports events or even in gym classes. In its most common form, young people bend over or squat down while hyperventilating, stand up and then hold their breath as someone else pushes on their chests until they lose consciousness.

Less frequently, a ligature of some sort -- a belt, necktie or rope -- is used to cut off the air supply. Often the practice is first done with friends, but it can be addictive, and some teens begin doing it alone, sometimes combining it with masturbation. The results can be both embarrassing and deadly.

"It is very difficult to get at the extent of the problem because people are very reluctant, both from the medical end and the family end, to acknowledge that this practice is taking place," said R. Carl Westerfield, former dean of education at Lamar University in Beaumont, Tex. "It's in the closet." - Washington Post Report

The practice of auto-erotic strangulation goes back at least to the 1600's but few people continue the practice as they mature. There are far better ways to get your kicks, though things haven't changed much since the late 1800's when sex information was even more sanitized than it is today. Even in today's supposedly enlightened information age, it is amazing how few adults know about blackout roulette, much less are willing to discuss it candidly with their children.

There are two websites, set up by parents and friends of victims of this practice, which attempt to state the facts simply and honestly. The first is Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play (Gasp).

The website answers questions about the practice. It’s not a game at all—just an act of suffocating on purpose.

How it works: adolescents cut off the flow of blood to the brain, in exchange for a few seconds of feeling lightheaded. Some strangle themselves with a belt, a rope or their bare hands; others push on their chest or hyperventilate.

When they release the pressure, blood that was blocked up floods the brain all at once. This sets off a warm and fuzzy feeling, which is just the brain dying, thousands of cells at a time.

And if the strangulation is self induced, and you pass out, well, then that brings about death. And there is nothing at all funny about that. You can easily find videos of teens doing this on YouTube, and even Wiki lists dozens of nicknames for the practice, most of which I guarantee you have never heard of.

Airplaning, America Dream Game, Black Boxing, Black Out Game, Breath Play, Breathing the Zoo, Bum Rushing, California Blackout, California Choke, California Dreaming, California Headrush, California High, California Knockout, Catching Some Zs, Choking Game, Cloud Nine, Crank, Dream Game, Dreaming Game, Dying game, Fall Out Game, Flat Liner, Flatline Game, Flatliner Game, Funky Chicken, Getting Passed Out, Grandma's Boy, Groobling, Halloween, Harvey Wall Banger, High Riser, Hoola Hooping, Hyperventilation Game, Indian Headrush, Knockout Game, Passing Out Game, Pass-out Game, Purple Dragon, Natural High, Neckies, Redline, Rising Sun, Rocket Ride, Sandboxing, Sleeper Hold, Sleepers, Space Monkey, Speed Dreaming, Suffocation Game, Suffocation Roulette, The Game, The Mysto World, Tingling Game, Trip to Heaven

Don't let the cute names fool you. Wikipedia is clear about its dangers, and its unfortunate appeal to youngsters, but it is a dangerous, deadly practice.

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