NPR logo The "Good Kids' High"

The "Good Kids' High"

Bad habits such as drug and alcohol abuse continuously worry parents as their kids get older. But there's a rising craze on the viral-video street: the "choking" game. The activity is nothing new, but kids are now filming each other playing a bullet-free form of Russian Roulette and posting it on YouTube. If this is new news to you, check out the explanation on The Independent:

Known by a variety of names from funky chicken to space monkey, the "game" involves hyperventilating or squeezing the carotid artery in the neck for a few seconds to achieve a high. Constricting the artery cuts blood flow to the brain; when the pressure is released, the resulting rush of oxygen causes the high. Experts say it is most prevalent among high-achieving adolescents who do not want to get in trouble by taking drugs or drink. The practice is different to autoerotic asphyxiation because it is not done for sexual gratification.

Doctors who have dealt with "choking game" cases warn that the risky practices can lead to head injuries, seizures and brain damage, to name a few. In turn, parents are urged to look for random headaches, bruises around the neck or bloodshot eyes. And the stats on deaths are alarming.

So, the next time you see some kids just "horsing around," be aware. This choking game (also known as "space monkey," the scarf game," and "jeu de foulard ") is no laughing matter.