Eamon Keane: Sick necknominate game is just too much to swallow

IF YOU haven’t heard of it, NeckNominate is a drinking game, which is growing in popularity across social networks with young drinkers.

From Independent.ie

For most teenagers in Ireland drinking alcohol is considered a rite of passage. Some cultures approve of this rite, others frown.

But there’s rites of passage and then there’s dangerous activities like NeckNominate.

Here’s how it works. A teenager records a video of him or herself drinking ”” and drinking in a competitive way. He may try and drink quickly, he may try a load of shots.

Then he posts the video, tagging two other individuals. Tagging means they are identified with the video. These two must then meet the drinking challenge within 24 hours, and tag others.

NeckNominate started as a private joke in April, 2013. It has now spread across the world via social networks. Participants are now appearing on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

You could argue that these teenagers are only doing what some adults do on any weekend night.

We aren’t the greatest models it’s true, but at least adults can make a mature decision.

The teenage brain, on the other hand, is not fully developed until 24 for males and 21 for females.

To see this take a trip into an A&E department on any night from Thursday to Saturday.

Watch as emergency personnel bring in drunken kids, some of whom will have to have their stomachs pumped.

Be there when their parents get the call. Or maybe you should meet the specialist telling a 22-year-old that her liver is irreparably damaged.

Go visit our courts. Read the newspapers. A young man wakes up and finds he stabbed his best friend. This week, we read about a young Irishman facing a year in jail in Australia for attacked a man while intoxicated.

Diarmuid Dooley was so drunk he says he can’t remember the incident. I don’t exaggerate. Many of you know this already.

Controlling impulses is a challenge for the best of us. For teenagers and young adults it is especially hard. Trying to do it with rapid amounts of alcohol flooding the brain is just about impossible.

How many girls wake up not remembering if they had sex or not? And how many young men have raped them under the influence of alcohol?

Anything that reduces a young person’s capacity to mind themselves is disturbing. NeckNominate has the potential to do just that, because it plays on macho and competition anxieties in young men and women.

I am not suggesting that every teen ends up in trouble because of excessive drinking. But enough do to make parents, and society in general, worry.

Of course, I had to smile when I read that MEAS were worried. They represent various drinks manufacturers, though they are independent.

Their spokesperson said: “It’s a practice that we are very concerned about.

“Irish people have a propensity to drink a lot and very quickly – and we are worried that this game could exacerbate this In particular, it’s a concern that the posting of the images could appeal to and be taken up by vulnerable younger drinkers.”

Imagine someone posting images that might influence young people into drinking?

Think   back to some of the drinking campaigns we’ve seen over the years!

Still, the core point is right. Anything that puts young people at risk needs examination.

And it’s not just their   health.Viewing some NeckNominate videos yesterday something else struck me – have those who posted them considered the

effects on their future or current employment?

The other concern is for those young kids, in theory at least, don’t normally see drink advertising on TV.

Any youngster of 13 or over can sign up, access these games and potentially take part in them. NeckNominate is a perverse take on a cultural rite of passages. For some it will not leave lasting harm.

For others we must cry halt.