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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mourning Ohio Dad: School 'Net Surfing Killed Son

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.


  1. Educational and Informational resources are available online, most of them free of charge.

    D.A.R.E. / Police officer Scott Metheny has developed a power point presentation which is downloadable online at:


    Officer Metheny, along with parent Carol Connelly who's son Steven Connelly's died as a result of another high risk, thrill seeking asphyxiation activity have given many school presentations in an effort to bring awareness to society of this deadly, wicked killer.

    Human Relations Media Educational Publishers have also created a cd / video for distribution:

    Product Awards
    CINE Golden Eagle Award

    This program exposes “the choking game”…a shockingly foolish and deadly activity among 9-14 year olds that has resulted in the tragic deaths of children across the country. Through interviews with children who have participated in the “game”, siblings and parents of children who have died, and experts and physicians, young viewers get the straight and alarming facts about just how dangerous this “game” is. One young teen describes his personal experiences with the “game” and how his twin brother Gabriel died from it in an attempt to get high without drugs. Dr. Thomas Andrew, a medical examiner, describes what actually happens to the brain when the blood flow gets cut off causing brain damage and possible death. A parent describes and details the tragic death of her son in an attempt to prevent others from the same fate. Gives young viewers information explaining the difference between healthy and dangerous risk taking.
    Includes Pre- and Post-Tests Running Time: 19 minutes
    Click here for online preview:

    Since losing my 13 year old son Gabriel to this 'game' on May 6, 2005, over 140 others have fallen victim to it. Education, warning and awareness can and has saved lives.

    Ignorance is not bliss,
    Sarah Pacatte, Gabriel Mordecai's mom

  2. Sarah --

    My heart goes out to you. I am a parent and I cannot even begin to imagine . . .

    Thank you for the information you provided. I hope it circulates far and wide, and is seen by many. I can tell that you have been working to make that happen. It is so sad to learn about all the children who have been lost.

  3. My 16 year old son also died from this "game" just over two years ago. We never knew of this "choking game" either. We homeschool our children, and have guards on our computer, yet he found out about it (we think from a TV show). Kids joke about it. They "play" it at parties, in school hallways and on buses. We hope and pray our son's death will also save other's lives.