I don’t want to add to the frenzy of “OMG youths are doing this thing…let’s panic” but I think a quick discussion of the current social media fad ‘Neknomination’ is worth 5 minutes of your time.
#1 Neknomination or “neck and nominate” comes from the English slang word “neck” as in to chug alcohol. In a Neknomination video, a person chugs their drink, performs a crazy stunt, and then nominates two friends to go next. (It’s not unlike the concept of paying it forward, but with potentially-dangerous binge drinking instead of acts of kindness)
#2 Neknomination has allegedly already been linked to 2 deaths. Neknomination is believed to have originated in Australia, and is seemingly most popular in South Africa, the UK (including Ireland) and Australia. Jonny Byrne, 19, and Ross Cummins, 22, (both from Ireland) both died after apparently taking part in neknomination. Outraged parents have asked Facebook to shut the Neknomination sites down, but Facebook has declined to do so, saying “"We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but controversial or offensive behaviour is not necessarily against our rules.”
#3 Neknomination moves fast. Although there are instances of Neknomination dating back to 2008, the trend has only really picked up sped-the most ‘liked’ facebook pages were just created in mid-January 2014.
#4 Neknomination has three aspects that guarantee its social media success – it involves alcohol, videos of crazy drunken stunts, AND other people must be challenged to step up and participate.
#5 Your kids probably have already heard of it (but probably aren’t doing it…yet). It’s most likely only a matter of time before a bored kid stumbles upon it and decides to try.
And for a bonus:
#6 Please don’t panic and try to ban Facebook at your school.
So what should you do? There’s not much you CAN do, other than be aware that there is yet another peer-pressured excuse for doing something that can be both illegal and harmful. But often times, awareness is half the battle – at least you know is it out there on your students’ radar. Like vodka eyeballing, butt-chugging, etc, etc this too will pass.