NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The once popular choking game has been making a comeback.

If you haven’t heard of it, chances are your kids have. It recently led to the death of a little boy — prompting a warning for parents.

As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, a group of teens shooting hoops in the park said they know that other kids their age are sitting in front of a computer playing a different kind of game that could kill them.

“You faint, pass out, and wake up,” Jordan Stevens explained.

He said teens are doing it because it’s all over social media.

It’s referred to as the choking game, and it’s also known as the ‘pass out’ or ‘black out’ challenge.

It’s been around for years, but has been making a comeback because of ‘how to’ videos on sites like YouTube that have been viewed millions of times. Dr. Robert Glatter of Northwell Health Lenox Hill Hospital said some kids do it to get a natural high.

“You’re talking about cutting off blood flow to the brain which deprives the brain of oxygen,” Glatter explained.

As 15-year-old Jonathan Edwards acknowledged the game can come to a deadly conclusion.

“It’s really dangerous because somebody can die from it,” he said.

Garrett Pope, 11, died doing it just days ago in South Carolina.

His father took to social media during his time of mourning to let the world know that his son’s death was not intentional — that he took the game too far.

Many parents still haven’t’ heard of the game, and couldn’t believe what kids were doing.

“I just don’t want any other parent to go through what I went through,” Judy Rugg said.

Her son Erik died in 2010. She’s started a nationwide online support group called ‘Erik’s Cause’ to promote awareness.

“Kids think this is funny. That it’s normalizing the behavior, and they don’t think it’s dangerous. They’re not getting the balance of education,” she said.

She’s urging parents to explain to their kids that a so-called game, could be deadly.

Doctors said with school starting this week there may be extra peer pressure to try the game. In addition to talking to children about the game, parents are urged to monitor their online activity.


  1. Kate says:

    “Social media,” a fine example of the dumbing down of America. This activity is NOT funny, NOT a game. An 11 yr. old died from this foolishness. Parents – you control the technology (or should). Block any & all questionable sites. Schools should work into their curriculum students doing CPR on the mannequins for 15 minutes single person to get the feeling of what it’s like for first responders who are called to a home where the “game” has gone bad. As well, show them the Medical Examiner photos of what asphyxiation looks like. Can’t happen to you, think again.

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