If you don’t have much to do with social media or aren’t familiar with the game, the general idea behind it is a participant is videoed as they “neck” down a drink and perform some kind of a stunt before challenging other friends to outdo them within 24 hours – obviously leaving a pretty big opportunity for stupidity to ensue. The Internet craze has resulted in the death of at least five people over the course of only one month. The last victim was a 20-year-old British rugby player, who mixed two pints of gin with teabags and filmed himself downing the concoction. He complained of feeling ill shortly after and died four days later. A 29-year-old man also died after downing three quarters of a litre of vodka in under a minute. Two young men from Ireland were found dead in separate incidents after participating in dares in early February. There is now talk of lawsuits and even manslaughter charges that could arise as a result of the game. Lawyers in the UK have said participants who dare friends to take lethal NekNominate challenges could face manslaughter charges if things go horribly wrong. People issuing a challenge that results in death might find themselves the subject of a prosecution as the tragic outcome could be predicted and prevented. (Then again, if people are willingly taking part, common sense and responsibility for one’s own safety should prevail). Last week, a 25-year-old Medicine Hat woman was charged after she had a friend record her opening and drinking alcohol while driving because she chose to post the evidence on Facebook for everyone to witness. But there are some people out there who are trying to put a positive spin on the craze. One young man in France decided against following the trend. Instead of downing a bottle of booze, he opted to film himself doing a more beneficial challenge by handing out food and drink to homeless people in his city. He then nominated others to outdo him with a good deed. A smart alternative. By now it doesn’t even surprise me that people – evidently young people especially – are willing to go along with the dangerous and senseless stunts their friends pull and not even question it. Before you say or do something that seems out of nature to you, ask yourself this: am I doing this because I actually want to, or am I trying to look cool, brag, show off or fit in? I’m not a psychologist, but if the answer is yes to any of the last four, you should probably re-evaluate the situation. If you feel snowboarding down a hill in a Speedo while shotgunning a beer is something you’d like to try, that’s your call. Just remember to consider if that’s a video you want to be immortalized on the Internet for potential future employers and possibly even your grandmother to come across. Sure, what you do on your own time is your own business. And if you choose to post it online for all to see, that’s your call as well. But once you do that you’re setting yourself up for any kind of judgment or criticism that comes your way – for those that survive the more poor or senseless decisions, anyway. Let’s use some common sense people. You’re responsible for your own safety.
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