WASHINGTON, February 17, 2014—NekNominate is the latest drinking game among teens and young adults and it is starting to kill them.
It combines two components which have been responsible for numerous deaths individually, online bullying and alcohol.
It is believed to have started in Australia according to CNN, but with the far reach of social media, it has swept through Great Britain and is now entering North America.
It starts with an online nomination where a friend challenges a specific person or persons to join the game.
The premise of the game is simple: after being nominated, participants film themselves “necking” or “downing” an extremely large drink, virtually always alcoholic drink. Then they post the video on social media, usually Facebook or youtube and nominate a friend to outdo them.
If the friend refuses the nomination, they are ridiculed and bullied incessantly on Facebook and Twitter.
Each challenge becomes increasingly outlandish and the drinks have become larger, now often containing an entire bottle of liquor.
The game appears to have started with challenges of exhibitionism, with a woman removing her coat where she was only wearing provocative underwear underneath in the middle of a supermarket and “chugging” a beer.
But the games escalation has centered more on the alcohol and less on exposing oneself.
Some of the videos have shown supersized cocktails mixed in a toilet with two friends supporting the drinker upside-down in the bowl. Another shows a mix of all types of alcohol combined with other ingredients, including a dead mouse, dog food and live goldfish.
The game has once again brought attention to online bullying and peer pressure.
Some parents are asking Facebook to take some responsibility since they continue to display and advertise next to photos showing young people participating in the game.
The game has taken the lives of five men, all under aged 30.
The most recent victim, Bradley Eames, 20, died four days after filming himself drinking two pints of gin in a NikNominate challenge.
Eames is estimated to having drunk the equivalent to 30 shots in the two minute video. He reported not feeling well minutes after uploading the video and was found dead in his apartment a few days later.
All of the deaths have occurred in Great Britain and now lawyers in that country are reporting that if a death occurs while playing the game, the nominator could face manslaughter charges.
The online records could be used in any legal challenge.
Social media has allowed this game to spread at a pronominal speed, and no place with internet connections is protected.