Besides drinking, teenage mums and violence, we youths are best known for one thing; fads, and often crazy ones like that. The newest fad to sweep the nation is the infamous NekNomination.

NekNomination, which was rumoured to have started in Perth in Australia but in fact originated from a video posted on the Facebook page Ross Samson, a London Irish rugby star,  was to begin with a fairly simple drinking game. At first, the rules of the game stated that someone had to gulp down or “neck” a drink, typically a pint, in one go and post a video of them doing so on the web. They would then nominate two or three others to do the same and thus process would continue.

Unfortunately, a mixture of copious amounts of alcohol and that constant human need to one up your friends has created a dangerous and sometimes deadly concoction, warping this once simple drinking game. It is now common for NekNomination participants to perform potentially hazardous dares involving drinking a large amount of alcohol. These dares range from a sixteen old girl who was hospitalised after downing a whole litre of vodka in one go, to a soldier who was filmed drinking a pint that had two live goldfish in it. Another showed a ten year old primary school student being violently sick after friends challenged him to drink a mixture of Nando’s sauce, mayonnaise, cream and vodka.

…a soldier was filmed  drinking a pint that had two live goldfish in it…

 To make matters worse, NekNomination is believed, up to this point, to have caused the deaths of five British and Irish nationals. Isaac Richardson, 20, was killed after drinking a mixture of wine, whiskey, vodka and lager. Stephen Brooks, 29, was pronounced to have died in his sleep by paramedics who arrived at his house after he’d taken a turn for the worse following a night out. Ross Cummins, 22, was found unconscious in a house and rushed to hospital before expiring, his death is believed by police to be linked to the NekNomination craze. Jonny Byrne was killed after downing a pint and diving into the River Barrow in Carlow in which he drowned; his body was located after several hours. Finally Bradley Eames, 20, was found dead after drinking two pints of gin mixed in with tea bags although police have yet to confirm his cause of death. These recent deaths have sparked anger among parents and officials alike including the health minister Norman Lamb who was quoted calling NekNomination, “Russian Roulette with people’s lives.” 

There is one ray of light in this frankly awful situation though. Some young people have opted for a slightly less dangerous method of completing the challenge – in that they donate a pint of blood to the NHS. In addition to this, a South African man, Brent Lindeque, filmed himself handing a sandwich, a chocolate bar and a canned drink to homeless man for his NekNomination. He then posted on the video “Downing a can of Castle Light is easy… imagine if we all harnessed the power of social media to make a real difference in people’s lives.” 

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