NEWARK, Ohio (TDB) -- School officials are posting public warnings for parents about the "choking game" and Supt. Keith Richards says "In recent days, we have learned that this behavior may be more common in Newark than anyone could have imagined." A 6th grader asphyxiated himself earlier this week. The boy's anguished father suspects his son learned how to play the choking game while sitting at school computers during class.
"Why aren't they watching what these kids are getting on?" said Rob Wince, whose 12-year-old son was found hanging in the basement. Wince spoke to Mark Szakonyi, a staff writer with the Advocate Reporter, and added that he was completely unaware his son had been experimenting with asphyxiation. Sadly, everyone is Newark has learned the deadly game is widely available online.
The death has stunned the community and school officials said the game goes by several handles among adolescents, including "suffocation roulette" and "flatliner." In all, they have found nearly a dozen different names for the choking game, and the Newark district's WARNING IS HERE.
The choking game is new to Newark, Supt. Richards said. "It's something many of us had never even heard of before this tragedy; yet research suggests that 400-500 children die from this risky behavior very year. The choking game isn't a game at all. It's a very dangerous behavior practiced by children in order to achieve a brief 'high' by cutting off the blood flow to the brain. Sometimes it's done in groups and sometimes children do it alone."
As for the 'net at school, Richards said it is closely monitored, students are supervised while online and they don't get much opportunity to surf. The school district has been aggressive in spreading word to parents to watch the Web sites children are checking out at home. And, yes, they have found descriptions online about how to play the choking game. What is not clear: Did the boy discover how to take his life on a school computer? Or did he learn about the game from a classmate? Maybe he found it on the home computer? Wince, the father, said he monitored home use by the youngster.
A news story about the boy's death in Newark is HERE.