What started out in Australia has quickly begun sweeping the United States. Now, it has reached the College campus. Everything about the “neknomination” changes, from the types of drinks people use to who is being nominated for the challenge. But despite traveling from Australia to the College, the game has managed to keep a constant in all of its change — it’s lethal to the body and unforgiving to the future.
The “neknomination” is a drinking game that utilizes social media to spread its competition rapidly around the world. A person’s participation in the game begins once they are nominated, meaning they have been challenged to film themselves drinking large amounts of alcohol in order to top the nominator’s previous combination of drinks. They then must nominate other people to complete the challenge within 24 hours.
Having already claimed five lives, the game has taken a dangerous toll on its participants — and yet people continue to play it, as not completing the challenge can reportedly result in online ridicule, according to the New York Daily News.
The issue of underage drinking is nothing new to the public. If The Signal’s Cop-Shop column is any indicator, it’s even more obvious on campus. But this game has taken drinking to a competitive level in which people forego their limits and do whatever it takes to outdrink their opponent.
“This is a lethal game,” Dr. Sarah Jarvis, medical adviser for the UK-based charity Drinkaware, told CNN. “The point about alcohol is that it affects your ability to recognize that you’re in danger, and it absolutely affects your ability to react to danger. So now we have a double whammy.”
However, students at the College have decided to partake in this game because they felt they knew their bodies’ limits well enough to avoid danger, making it no more lethal than going out to a party on the weekend.
“I think it could be seen as a problem for underage teens to (do the “Neknominator” challenge) because there’s a lot of alcohol, and people don’t know their limits,” said an anonymous sophomore business and pre-med double major who participated in the challenge. “That gives it a bad reputation for everyone else who can do it safely and in a controlled environment. I guess the difference is I knew that I would be able to handle what I drank. Other people think, ‘Here’s 10 shots, I’m gonna outdrink my friends and look cool,’ and that’s where the problem starts.”
Aside from the obvious safety issues to those who participate in this viral drinking game, the more astounding issue is that they have been posting the videos of themselves actually underage-drinking for anyone to see, including future employers. The game has even surpassed Facebook and hit YouTube, allowing videos without privacy settings to be viewed by anyone. For example, a YouTube video titled “The Gnarliest #Neknomination ever” shows a male consuming large quantities of liquor. He then participates in a ‘man-shot,’ where he snorts a line of salt, takes a shot, squeezes lemons into his eyes, gets punched in the face and finally downs a mystery cocktail. This participant may have felt he proved his masculinity by completing the ‘man-shot,’ but it can probably be inferred that a future employer may not be as convinced.
“My motivation was pretty much, ‘Why not?’” the anonymous student said about accepting his nomination. “I have posted a video online with me drinking. However, I changed the privacy setting so only a few of my closest friends could see it that I trust. If (the participants) don’t change the setting on the video, then they are just stupid. There’s no reason everyone needs to see that, and it only harms yourself.”
Whatever the argument may be regarding the safety of the game — whether it’s kids just being kids or a health hazard — it is undeniably endangering students’ future endeavors and hard work. They could be losing a job opportunity, all in the name of the game, just to post a three-minute video proving their worthiness of a “neknomination.”
It’s even gone as far as leading a woman to strip down in a supermarket and down a drink. Another man chose to drink out of a toilet while other players mixed their spirits with dead mice, insects, engine oil and dog food, according to CNN. And the best part? All of these videos are free for the public to see and some of them have been picked up by news sources and spread around through social media.
While there’s been enough said and done about the issue of underage drinking, the “neknomination” brings teens to force themselves to drink voluminous amounts of alcohol in order to avoid getting mocked for bailing out on their nomination. But for those who are able to survive the game, it may be too late for them to right their social media faux pas. They are posting illegal activity for the world to see, leaving its mark in cyberspace forever — and possibly ruining a bright future before it even begins.