It’s called the “choking game.” Via a rope, belt or even hands around the neck, children cut off the flow of blood to their brains, nearly pass out and then enjoy the “rush” that follows – if the game itself doesn’t kill them.
Recently, it killed a 14-year-old Jewish girl in one of the wealthier Los Angeles suburbs, reports the Los Angeles Times. The choking game seems to be a variation of autoerotic self-asphyxiation that men used to heighten sexual sensation.
In this case, bored and/or lonely kids are just seeking a drug-free rush. Armed with cell phones, cars, money and freedom, many of these good, hard-working kids apparently are missing something in their lives.
I’m not going to repeat the whole Times story, but if you are a parent, read it in the next few days before it expires. Understand that these parents love their kids and do their best. But also understand that many kids today are very troubled.
I’ve long held that our hard-driving, overworked parents, and technology-obsessed society is at the root of these problems. How do parents monitor their children if both must work late into the night? How many parents, just to afford the basics, must work late into the night rather than being home in time to take care of their kids?
I know it’s a big problem for us. Because of traffic, I rarely get home before 7:30 p.m. And because of financial pressures, my wife may have to go back to work within a couple years. Otherwise, we won’t be able to help our kids with college, and we won’t have enough money to retire on.
But kids don’t care what our problems are. By their very nature, children are the most narcissist people on the planet. They are all about need.
Do you have doubts that children today are struggling? More than 3 million kids visited doctors complaining of depression from 2001-2002, up from 1.44 million in 1995-1996, reports MedPageToday.com on a new Stanford study. While most of these kids are not diagnosed with depression, there is clearly something wrong in their lives.
And how do we treat most of these kids? With drugs. We don’t look for the underlying problems anymore, we just drug them. Often, these poisons are given to kids for purposes for which they were not approved.
The use of antidepressants in kids jumped 2.6 times from 1995 to 2002, the study found. Meanwhile, counseling decreased as drug use rose.
While the choking game is one of the more extreme examples of what is happening to our kids today, there are plenty of other clues ranging from smoking pot to attempted suicide that reveal underlying problems.
I’ve noticed many adults and kids are quick to blame parents, but the problem is far more complicated. We have a tendency in this country to underestimate the impact societal pressures have on our children. Thirty years ago, there really wasn’t anything bad on TV. Commercials had a kind of innocent quality to them. Cell phones weren’t ubiquitous, nor were porn-filled Internet browsers.
While it may be easy for an aging parent to learn about technology, it’s quite another thing to keep up with the social ramifications these technologies have on our society and children. A larger conversation is needed to discuss what our changing society is doing to us and our kids. Otherwise, our children will be the continuing subjects in a societal experiment that no one is able or willing to control.