Kids will be kids and teens will make some bad decisions; you can’t deny it. But as kids get older and start messing around with alcohol, arming them with the megaphone that is social media can have some extremely dangerous consequences.
If you’re a parent you may not yet have heard of Neknominate. You probably will soon, given its current trajectory.
What is it?
Neknominate (also Neck Nominate, Neck and Nominate and Necknominate) is an online drinking game that originated in Australia, and it has been spreading of late thanks to the prevasiveness of social media and the addition of some extremely unhealthy twists to the game.
Originally, a participant in the game would film video of himself drinking alcohol – either in large quantities or strange combinations, and post it to Facebook or some other social media site. The participant would then challenge others to equal his feat.
More recent iterations of the game still include the drinking and posting, but now have viewers of the videos or the poster himself issuing challenges for others to do dangerous feats of stupidity during or after the drinking binge. The bizarre game has been linked to at least four deaths so far, and the buzz is spreading to this side of the Atlantic, so we can expect it here soon.
Why are kids doing it?
Teens and young adults are participating in Neknominate for the same reasons that stunts and dares have been popular for decades:
- Bad judgment
- The need to fit in
- The desire to be popular
- Peer pressure
Granted, none of these are good reasons, but kids have been drag racing cars and cliff jumping into quarries for a long time.
How can parents be prepared?
As a parent, now that you know that Neknomination is part of the current social media buzz, you can use that knowledge as a basis for a conversation with your teen. Whether you condone drinking or not, you probably aren’t a big fan of the idea of your teen drinking and posting the act on social media. The obvious risk of combining the two with a life threatening dare is definitely something you should be talking about it. Don’t ignore it and hope it doesn’t happen. Just the fact that your teen knows you are paying attention could be a sufficient deterrent.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.