In 2005, Sharron Grant lost her 12-year-old son Jesse when he died while playing the "choking game." Today, Sharron is making it her mission to prevent other children from taking part in the dangerous activity. Sharron talks with Holly and Rodney about what makes the choking game so appealing to children and points out some signs that may indicate your child is taking part in it.
Sharron says for generations, young people—mostly pre-teens and teenagers—have been finding ways to suffocate themselves on purpose. The lure is a drug-free way to achieve a euphoric, light-headed high that lasts a few seconds. Some children play the game together, helping each other cut off the oxygen flow to the brain using everything from ropes to plastic bags to just their bare hands. Jesse used a computer cord to cut off his airway the day he died. "They don't think they are going to die," she says. "They have these mechanisms they use that they think are going to release, but they don't release."
Sharron started the organization GASP (Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play) to educate parents, children and teachers about the dangers of this high-risk activity. She is also trying to get the nation's DARE programs to teach students about the dangers of the game, including loss of brain cells and death. "All we need to do is show them what happens to their bodies when they do it, and I believe that most of these deaths can be stopped," Sharron says.
Here are some signs that your child may be taking part in the choking game:
Change in attitude and more aggressive behavior
Belts, ropes, strings and dress ties are in places where they shouldn't be
Wear marks on bedroom furniture or in closets
Printed from Oprah.com on Wednesday, December 11, 2013