NEWS — The online drinking game that has Thompson Rivers University officials worried has gone viral, according to news reports, but Facebook refuses to ban videos of it.
TRU is just one of a growing number of universities warning their students about the dangers of the game.
Thought to have originated in Australia, where “neck” is slang for drink, “NekNomination” consists of posting a video of extreme drinking and then nominating someone else to do the same within 24 hours. A #neknominate hashtag is used to tag the next person.
“Someone feel free to #neknominate me pls n; thnx cuz I need a good chug” one tweeter wrote Sunday. “At the very least, I suppose #NekNominate could speed up the process of evolution by wiping out legions of morons” tweeted another.
The game spread from Australia through Europe and then to North America.
A 19-year-old and a 22-year-old have died as a result of taking part in the game, both in Ireland.
The Mirror reported Patrick Byrne, whose brother Jonny’s body was recovered from a river, as saying, “My young 19-year-old brother died tonight in the middle of his nomination… he thought he had to try and beat the competition, after he necked his pint, he jumped into the river. If people have any decency and respect they will refrain from anymore of this stupid nek nomination.”
According to the Globe and Mail, NekNomination has gone viral across Canada. Officials at Queen’s University and the University of West Ontario have both warned their students about it.
The globe quoted University of Toronto student Max Stern, 19, saying, “I’ve seen friends doing it here and in Europe. It seems to take hold of a region for a few weeks — and then once everyone’s done it — moves to a new area.”
There are reports of students from Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria also getting involved in the activity (CBC News).
A video has been posted online of Vancouver-area male students taking part in the game, says a story in Sunday’s Vancouver Province.
“We first heard about it about three weeks ago (in B.C.) and all of a sudden it’s everywhere,” said Kara Thompson, a researcher with the Centre of Addictions Research of B.C. at the University of Victoria.
“This trend is particularly dangerous because it involves drinking an excessively large amount of alcohol in a short period of time,” she told the Province. “The effects are going to lead to a much higher level of intoxication” than with normal binge-drinking, characterized by consuming five drinks (four for women) over a number of hours.
Thompson said she’s heard of some people mixing alcohol with engine oil, urine or goldfish.
One student walked into a supermarket, stripped down to her underwear, and downed a can of beer, reported the New York Daily News.
Facebook released a statement in response to concerns about the game: “We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but controversial or offensive behaviour is not necessarily against our rules.
“We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action on a case by case basis. We also give people the ability to remove themselves from an uncomfortable conversation through tools such as untagging and blocking.”