The Game

The Choking Game

Participants in the choking game — typically adolescents — attempt to trigger a high by temporarily depriving the brain of oxygen through strangulation. The choking game is often done with a ligature or another person’s hands around the participant’s neck. A child may also take a deep breath, hold it, and have someone hug him or her from behind until he or she feels dizzy and passes out. This only takes less then 3 minutes for a child to do this.

The choking game is also sometimes called the blackout game, pass-out game, scarf game or space monkey. The name differs from location as some make up their own name for it, the consequence is the same

The choking game is most common in as young as 6 years old to 24 years of age.

Versions of this game have also been done with water. Children are seeing how long they can hold their breath underwater, and getting the same “adrenaline rush” feeling.


The choking game can result in serious injuries, such as seizures, fractures, permanent brain damage and death. Taken to an extreme, the choking game can be life-threatening. If a child plays the choking game alone and with a scarf or robe tie, for example, he or she may lose consciousness and be unable to release the ligature.

Red Flag Warning Signs:

  • Bruises around the neck
  • Frequent, often severe headaches
  • Bloodshot eyes or small, red facial spots
  • Disorientation after being alone
  • Sheets, belts, neckties, scarves, robe ties, T-shirts or ropes tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs, or found knotted on the floor
  • Mentioning choking games, showing curiosity about asphyxiation
  • Having a history of Internet searches about choking games
  • Wear marks on furniture
  • Small child mimicking the choking game (from seeing someone playing it)
  • Trying to see how long they can hold their breath under water

If you notice any of these signs, your child may be experimenting with or playing the choking game.

Other versions and Aliases Used:

  • Pass out challenge
  • Space monkey
  • Suffocation roulette
  • Scarf game
  • The American dream
  • Fainting game
  • Speed dreaming game
  • Purple hazing
  • Blacking out/blackout
  • Dream game
  • Flat liner
  • California choke
  • Space cowboy
  • Airplaning
  • Purple dragon
  • Cloud nine
  • Shallow water blackout
  • Water blackout

More info at this link.

20 comments on “The Game

  1. Hi Keri its your cousin Ashley. There is another game going around know I heard it through my school at camp out it is where i think you squat like a frog and pant fastly for like 30 sec then you stand up and put your thumb in your mouth and blow out and you eventually pass out trust me i have never tried but i think its something you may want to add on here. Bye and congrats on graduating!

  2. As a child (92′) something like this was popular. Not sure, but thought it might be something to add. The person sits with their head between their legs, then breath in and out very quickly for a few minutes. Once the last deep breath is taken, they hold it place both hands around their neck, fingers facing the back of the neck & apply pressure until they pass out. There isn’t very noticeable signs its going on.

  3. In the 1970’s an older boy from Mason City showed us how to pass out. Nobody died but I think I suffered mild brain damage as I have some memory issues. No adults knew about this activity, there wasn’t anyone to warn us how dangerous this “game” could be. I hope that you can continue to spread the word so no more children will be lost.

  4. […] the years and we always put off the website and then our middle son  Joshua died. What was the choking gamechoking game. The information that is out there is so old and medical. We had to step up and get […]

  5. […] Joshua did not purposely kill himself. He was doing something called the choking game also known as the passout challenge. A way to get an adrenaline rush but it can be deadly. Youth […]

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