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How to Know if Your Child is Playing the Choking Game

Many parents have never heard of the choking game -- adolescents strangling themselves almost to the point of unconsciousness to get high. Be sure you know the warning signs.


  • Step 1: Know some of the choking game's other names: Space Monkey, Scarf Game, The American Dream, Purple Hazing, Flat Liner, Space Cowboy, Airplaning, Purple Dragon, and Cloud Nine.
  • Step 2: Whether or not you see or hear any suspicious behavior, talk to your child about the choking game. Make them aware that it is a dangerous activity that could lead to brain injury, coma, and death.
  • FACT: According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, boys account for 87 percent of choking game deaths.
  • Step 3: Question your child if they've been wearing a lot of high-necked shirts lately, especially if the weather is warm.
  • TIP: A bent closet rod can be a telltale sign that your child has been playing the choking game.
  • Step 4: Recognize the other symptoms that may be red flags: Frequent, severe headaches and disorientation after your child has spent time alone.
  • Step 5: Be suspicious if you find knotted scarves, ties, belts, or ropes tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs. Investigate their possession of a dog leash or bungee cord that they have no obvious use for.
  • Step 6: Know the physical signs that your child may be playing the choking game: Bloodshot eyes, marks on the neck; and pinpoint bleeding spots under the skin on the face, especially the eyelids.

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