'Space Monkey' craze: Texan students 'get high' by choking each other

Forget bongs and beer, it's nooses now for the hip kids


Kids these days don't need drugs or alcohol to have fun, according to a new study. The latest craze sweeping American youth - and thus, no doubt, British youth in due course - is "Space Monkey", aka "The Choking Game", in which thrill-seeking youngsters strangle or suffocate themselves or each other "in order to achieve a high".

Putting aside the bong or beerkeg favoured by their parents, it seems that fun-loving kids in Texas are increasingly reaching instead for the plastic bag, improvised noose or heavy weight to place upon one's chest. According to a recent study, nearly one in seven Texas students surveyed had enjoyed being sociably throttled or smothered, generally as part of a cheery group event with pals rather than as a solo Tory-MP-style experience.

“It is our hope that these findings will inform efforts by parents, schools, and community agencies to warn young people about the dangers of participating in the Choking Game," says Glen Kercher of Sam Houston State uni.

Accirding to Kercher the practice of "manually choking oneself or others, applying a ligature around the neck or a plastic bag over the head, placing heavy objects on the chest, or hyperventilating to attain a euphoric feeling" is variously known among the young hipsters of Texas as "the Fainting Game, Pass Out, or Space Monkey". The survey reveals that:

  • 16 percent of students reported having played the game
  • 72 percent of these reportedly played the game more than once
  • Males were more likely to have played than females
  • The average age when students first played the game was 14
  • 90 percent of those who played the game first heard about it from peers
  • Most students reported that others were present when they first played the game

Sadly it would seem that a round of Space Monkey is every bit as dangerous as - if not more so than - traditional student pastimes such as drinking games or a puff on a jazz cigarette. The practice has apparently led to "several suffocation deaths in Texas and across the country", and parents are warned to keep an eye out for telltale signs that their kids might be indulging in it.

We here at The Reg will stick to traditional means of achieving euphoric feelings - or anyway warding off anti-euphoric ones - involving the trusty social lubricant of beer handed out in pint glasses. It's more expensive, but standing about strangling each other or popping plastic bags over each others' heads seems frankly a lot of effort and would be likely to make for boring conversation ("This one's mine I think. Here you go. I see you've got one of those new iPad nanos - any good?" "Aaack! Mmmmf! Gaaah!") ®


Other stories you might like

  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading
  • Utility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack

    All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

    A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

    The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

    "We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021