We normally have a little fun with this column but this game is no laughing manner. The Choking Game (also known as the Pass-Out Game, the Fainting Game, the Tingling Game and the Something Dreaming Game) has allegedly been the cause of death for two Idaho kids this past year, one a 10-year-old boy in Island Park and the other a 13-year-old girl in Nampa. This typically two-person game involves a choker and a chokee, although a riskier solitary version can be played too (among adults there are even more variations involving "other" activities). The rules are simple: Air is restricted to the chokee by the choker until the chokee passes out. Players claim a "buzz" but this is really the screams of millions of neurons dying painful deaths. The danger is obvious: death. But the game can also cause the blood vessels in the eyes and face to break, an attractive look for when kids go back to school.
Psychologists believe that risk-taking among youth is common, but recently there have been more incidents involving injury. Some blame television shows like Jackass and Fear Factor in which crazy stunts involving extremely risky behavior-some just for the sake of experiencing pain or revulsion-are played out.