Neknomination: The Incredibly Dumb and Destructive Social Media Drinking Game

By Bryan Le 02/13/14

The Internet game where players try to outdo each other with dangerous feats of drinking has led to several deaths with more certain to follow.

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Neknomination, a portmanteau of "neck" - to drink something all at once - and "nomination," is a dangerous new drinking game sweeping the Internet that now has parents and authorities concerned after youths in Australia and the UK were killed.

The rules are simple. Someone will chug booze in a Neknomination video and nominate two or three others, only they must outdo the one in the previous video and then nominate other players within 24 hours. Initially started with just alcohol, Neknomination has progressed to include outrageous and often dangerous twists, like adding protein powder or engine oil into the drink. Others have recorded themselves drinking while driving, doing backflips, spinning out on an ATV, or playing the game in public. The videos are then shared on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. "Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don't break the chain, don't be a dick," as the game's mantra goes.

“We are concerned by reports of the increasing popularity of the drinking dare Neknomination," says Rosanna O’Connor, director of alcohol and drugs at Public Health England. "The game’s encouragement of participants to outdo each other with ever more reckless stunts brings with it significant risks of alcohol-related harm including acute intoxication, accidents and injury. There is also the potential for cyber bullying of those who are seen to ‘chicken out.' It has already cost lives and we would advise anyone against taking part in the game to avoid putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.”

Such concern has grown from the game reportedly killing at least four people in Ireland. Isaac Richardson, 20, died after swearing to "out do others" and drinking a bottle of white wine with vodka, a quarter bottle of whiskey, and a beer. Jonny Byrne, 19, died after drinking and jumping into a river.

"When you have kids who don't have a clear sense of who they are, they are more likely to be easily led by others who have the same kind of difficulties," said clinical psychologist Stanley Goldstein. "Teens think they are immortal and don't understand the dangers. They likely get pushed into this sort of nonsense."

Here's a frightening compilation of Neknomination players:

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter