Friday, 28 February 2014

Neknominations: fun, or stupid?

Neknomination videos have been virtually impossible to avoid on social media – if you’ve been on Facebook recently chances are you’ve seen at least one video.

Image credit: flickr.com/photos/alexnormand
This is the new online drinking game, particularly popular among students, that is currently storming social media. Once ‘neknominated,’ the participant has to down a pint (comprised of alcohol mixed with pretty much anything else the nominee has to hand). They then nominate others, who have 24 hours to complete their challenge and pass it on.

The game was reportedly started in Cambridge as early as 2008, but has since travelled all over the world, from Australia to Ireland, before returning to the UK. As it has gained popularity, increasingly bizarre videos have emerged. For example, one girl stripped off in a supermarket to do her challenge, and there have been incidences of people drinking everything from washing-up liquid to goldfish.
But is it just harmless fun?

Perhaps it started off that way, but it is becoming more and more dangerous as participants strive to make the best videos. This has resulted in people drinking often high amounts of damaging substances in harmful combinations. At the time of writing, 4 people have died in the UK and Ireland as a result of Neknominations.

Image credit: flickr.com/photos/94418464@N08/
But still people are continuing to do the challenge.

A worrying amount of peer pressure is involved with the game. There is a certain need to conform, and to prove yourself to others. In some circles, the more disgusting or dangerous the drink is, the more the drinker is respected.

However, some people are refusing to participate even if they are nominated. That includes me. I just don’t see the point of the game, especially when people have died because of it.

Obviously some people are more sensible about their choice of ingredients, but still – drinking a concoction of alcohol mixed with God knows what else really can’t be good for you. Some people put solid food like sweets in their drinks as well, which are just asking to be choked on.

However, not all Neknomination videos are like this. Recently a new trend of ‘Kindness Nominations’ have emerged. These are where people have been Neknominated but have decided not to participate, instead using their video for alternative purposes. One example is South African YouTube user Brent Lindeque, who used the money he would have spent buying alcohol to do something positive instead.


Neknomination videos will doubtless fall into obscurity soon enough, but videos like this just go to show how something negative can be easily turned into something positive.
What do you think about Neknominations? Let me know in the comments below!

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