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PVC Middle School Warns Parents of "The Choking Game"

December 1, 2006

In the following letter, dated November 21, 2006 and delivered eleven days later on December 1, 2006, to parents of children attending the Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School, is a warning of a “dangerous thrill seeking practice” that “has been tried, and or, discussed, by a few of our sixth grade students.”

Dear Parents/Guardians:

It has recently come to our attention that a dangerous thrill seeking practice has been tried, and or discussed, by a few of our sixth grade students. Lt us hasten to add that the operative word is “few.” What we are about to describe is not of epidemic proportions, but having said this, we felt it essential that parents be aware of what is taking place with some children.

Specifically, we are speaking of something called the “choking game.” This activity is also known as the “passing out game”, the “passing out game”, the “fainting game”, or the “space monkey game.”

Regardless of the title, we are referring to a method of self-induced oxygen deprivation or peer-induced asphyxiation in order to achieve a kind of “high or “rush.” Using pressure with thumbs on the person’s carotid arteries or pressing the person up against the wall so they cannot breathe (thereby depriving them of oxygen) are two ways to achieve the “high.” This altered state results from temporary blood loss to the brain as pressure is applied. When the pressure is released, tingling and a slight sense of euphoria are experienced. Needless to say, all of this is very dangerous and has the potential for damaging the brain.

Some of the clues parents need to watch for are as follows:

What is the attraction of the “game?”

What are the results of the “game?”

Our hope is that you will take the opportunity to talk to your son or daughter about these matters, but in so doing, remain cautious so as to not arouse curiosity and interest in experimentation. If you know of this type of activity occurring or see any aforementioned signs, please contact our Student Assistance Counselor, Guidance Counselor, Psychologist and/or administrator. Our shared goal is to prevent this risky behavior and our students from harm.


Don Slater, Interim Principal

Barbara Ulm, Assistant Principal

Sounds scary. It looks worse. And there are plenty more of videos like this one, all easily found on YouTube by simply doing a keyword search. Watch:

Link to YouTube clip.

For more information, visit The Dylan Blake Foundation for Adolescent Behaviors, an educational clearinghouse of information, research and awareness campaign of the asphyxiation behavior known among our youth as “The Choking Game” or “The Pass Out Game.” Also see, “Choking Game Education: Deadly Games Children Play: Awareness, Family Help, Statistics, Victims.”


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