Underage and young drinkers most often binge when they drink and too often do so by playing dangerous games that can lead to alcohol poisoning and even death. If you have a teen or a college student, you need to be aware of the risky games that these young people are playing, both in the real world and online with social media. You also need to talk to your child about the dangers of playing these games. They can seem fun and harmless at first, but can quickly deteriorate into tragedy.
Young Drinkers and Binge Drinking
Binge drinking refers to the harmful practice of drinking enough to be legally over the limit. For women, this equates to about four drinks in one sitting and for men about five. According to government statistics, 90 percent of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers is in the form of binging. This dangerous way of drinking is associated with unintentional injuries, car accidents, unplanned pregnancies, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, sexually transmitted diseases, assault and fatalities.
For many young drinkers participating in binge drinking, it starts out as a game. There are a number of drinking games that you have probably never heard of, but your child surely knows. You may be shocked to hear what teens and college students do to get drunk:
- This dangerous game swept the Internet last year and resulted in the deaths of five people in one month. It may not be as trendy as it once was, but it hasn’t gone away. To play the game, a participant films himself chugging a ridiculously large amount of alcohol. He posts the video to social media and challenges a friend to do the same in 24 hours or risk ridicule. The dares are outlandish and include drinking out of toilets, drinking alcohol mixed with motor oil and other dangerous stunts.
- 21 for 21. Can you imagine drinking 21 shots of liquor in one night? That’s what many young people do, or attempt to do, for their 21st Friends encourage them by buying round after round of shots. Not everyone can do it, but the challenge aspect of the game leads too many young people to drink far more than they can handle.
- Power hour. Another ridiculous game, often played in college, has young drinkers taking a shot of beer every minute for an hour. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly and leaves the game player sloshed by the end of the hour.
- The vodka eyeball. This is another game that has spread around the world thanks to the Internet and social media. The idea is to get drunk more quickly by pouring vodka into your eyes. The potential consequences of doing this are serious. It can cause real damage to the cornea and even loss of sight.
- Edward Fortyhands. In a nod to the movie “Edward Scissorhands,” this game involves having a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor duct-taped to each hand. The participant must drink each bottle before he can have his hands freed. The need to go to the bathroom or to do anything with the hands impels the game player to drink dangerously fast.
As a parent, hearing about these games should be frightening. Talk to your teen or college student about how dangerous they are. For a young person, the idea of being hurt or dying from drinking too much is a distant thought. They don’t often think of the consequences of binge drinking or drinking games. Make it clear to your child that these games can be deadly and talk to them about seeking treatment for binge drinking if needed.