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Sharron Grant, a mother of three, arrived home on April 23 to discover something no parent should ever witness. Jesse, her year-old son, had been strangled to death by the cord from his computer. Sharon said Jesse learned how to play the Choking Game at summer camp. Children at his school had been doing this for years, but on this particular day, Jesse was playing alone.


Destructive behaviors typically practiced by adolescents and teenagers are also being adopted by children at an increasingly young age.

‘i wish i had kissed him goodbye’

Non-suicidal self-injury NSSI is a dangerous behavior of children and teenagers who harm themselves without intending to commit suicide. The most common form of self-injury is cutting; other forms include self-inflicted burns, bites, hair-pulling, and hitting.

Thirty-two percent of the children surveyed had harmed themselves within the past month. The frequency of self-harm varied from less than once per month, to more than once per hour; 1 to 6 times per week was the most frequently reported interval of self-harm. This activity can be self-inflicted using a belt, rope, or scarf, or another individual can manually apply pressure. In high school, the teens most likely to engage in this risky behavior are the ones who use substances, have attempted suicide, or have experienced sexual assault.

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It is crucial to spot NSSI, including participation in the choking game, and work to stop the behaviors. Each activity has potentially serious consequences, including death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDCchildren can lose consciousness from the choking game within seconds and can damage their brain and central nervous system after just three minutes.

Kids who have a history of NSSI behaviors are at higher risk for attempting suicide and for carrying it out successfully. Parents, caretakers and physicians can take several steps to prevent and identify NSSI and self-choking.

Sixty-nine percent of people who engage in self-harm do so by two or more methods, including cutting, burning, biting, and stabbing.

I choke myself with a belt

Multiple types of wounds, combined with symptoms of depression, strongly suggest self-injury. Physicians can also play an important role in spotting self-injury through physical examinations and attention to reports of pain that may be the result of self-inflicted injuries. Because children and teenagers are more likely to report instances of self-harm to family and friends than physicians, communication between all parties is a necessary and integral part of identifying NSSI behavior.

Physical evidence is the best way to determine if children or teens have been playing the choking game.

A lot of little purple spots, usually on the neck or eyelids, called petechiae indicate hemorrhaging caused by the choking game. Unfortunately, many doctors and pediatricians are not aware of how widespread these practices are or how to tell if kids are involved in them.

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In addition to educating themselves and patients, doctors and other health professionals should educate school officials and other adults who are in frequent contact with children and teenagers. Monitoring the internet and, specifically, the YouTube activity of your children can alert you to their interest in these practices.

YouTube contains more than five thousand videos of self-injury and self-harm. Although some of the videos contained neutral content, others seemed to promote self-injury by describing novel ways of harming oneself, as well as alternative methods to conceal that harm.

YouTube is an important and influential source of information for youth, and adolescents who engage in self-harm are more likely to use social networking, such as YouTube, than adolescents who do not practice NSSI.

YouTube has also been found to contribute to normalizing the choking game, making it seem like a fun activity that most teens try at some point. Frequently, the participants remarked on the pleasurable sensations experienced after regaining consciousness. Some have proposed that YouTube should create an automatic response, providing links to hotlines and other resources along with the link, similar to what Google provides for suicide-related searches.

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Parents and other adults who play an important role in the life of or teen should be on the look-out for and know how to identify s of self-injury and participation in the choking game. Parents, caretakers, and physicians can all take an active role in the identification and prevention of these behaviors through increased vigilance and speaking with your child or teen before they engage in these behaviors. If your child is playing the choking game or self-harming, be sure to discuss the serious consequences and risks of the behaviors. In the case of the choking game, it is best to notify school personnel because classmates are likely playing the game as well.

Finally, children and teenagers who self-injury or engage in the choking game should also see a physician and a mental health professional to address bodily harm and possible depression or other psychiatric disorders.

All articles on our website have been approved by Dr. Diana Zuckerman and other senior staff. Study shows even little kids can be cutters.

Med Today. Risk of suicidal ideation in adolescents with both self-asphyxial risk-taking behavior and non-suicidal self-injury. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. Self-injury among a cohort of young children at risk for intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Journal of Pediatrics.

‘i hope i don’t get hurt’

Self-injury in teenagers who lost a parent to cancer: A nationwide, population-based, long-term follow-up. Accessibility verifiedJanuary 16, The choking game and YouTube: A dangerous combination.

Clinical Pediatrics. Nonsuicidal self-injury: A review of current research for family medicine and primary care physicians.

Why are kids choking themselves?

Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. The choking game: Physician perspectives. Denis, JM, Noble, R. The scope of nonsuicidal self-injury on YouTube. Next ». Self-Injury Non-suicidal self-injury NSSI is a dangerous behavior of children and teenagers who harm themselves without intending to commit suicide.

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E rik Robinson was 12 years old in April when he accidentally strangled himself.


Philip Larry.


A sixty year old man was found stangled to death with a part-elastic belt.