Yesterday, an article on salon.com alerted me to something that I had never heard of before: The Choking Game. A 13-year-old boy accidently hung himself trying to get a high by making blood rush to his brain. What made the story even more frightening: The boy wasn't a trouble-maker. According to the article, which was written by his mom's best friend, he was a great kid who earlier that day shopped for school supplies at Target and was finishing up a summer homework packet.
After reading the story, I did a little digging and found information about a survey from by the Oregon Health Authority in Portland. Six percent of eighth graders admitted to playing the game and 22 percent had heard of it. Another report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the game led to the death of kids as young as 6, though the majority of victims were between 11 and 16.
I casually mentioned it to my 11-year-old without telling her what it was, and she gave me a blank stare and went back to her Rainbow Loom. But as she gets older, I will keep my eye out for these common signs: