A current craze called “NekNomination” is sweeping the United Kingdom and is currently being blamed for the death of a teen in Northern Ireland. Another teen’s demise has also been linked to the dangerous drinking game.
The drinking game has become a social media hit among people of all ages, as they give into the peer pressure involved. Using the hastag “#NekNominations,” a person is filmed drinking a whole bottle of liquor and posted on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. People are nominated on the social media sites and can be shamed for choosing not to take part. They are pressured into the drinking sessions and some may even be bullied into it. Those who complete their nomination then choose someone else to do something similar.
So far, there have been two deaths linked to the drinking fad, and both over the recent weekend. The first man was 22-year-old Ross Cummins who was found in his Dublin home unconscious during the early hours of Saturday morning. Despite being rushed to hospital, he died. He was reportedly drinking spirits that night.
The second was 19-year-old Jonny Byrne. He was found in a river, which was apparently part of his nomination challenge. According to The Daily Mail, Byrne was trying to beat his competition and jumping in the river after drinking his liquor was his decision. His family has blamed the “NekNomination” craze as the reason for their teen’s death and state that the craze “has to stop right now.”
Byrne’s brother, Patrick, has taken to social media to try and stop the drinking game. His Facebook profile has been changed to a banner that pleads with people to stop before it gets too out of hand. He has also retold the story of the tragic night involving the death of his brother over the weekend.
There is no definite confirmation of how the “NekNomination” craze started. Perth, Australia is part of the world being highlighted, but it reached the United Kingdom in January. That was when the hashtag “#NekNomination” started trending on Twitter. Users on Facebook do include “drink responsible” within the premise of the game, but there is very little responsibilty about it.
The deaths of the two Northern Irish men have led to the closing of the Northern Ireland NekNomination Facebook page, despite it having thousands of “likes” within days of it being created. The page organizers have now stated they will turn it into a page for alcohol awareness in light of recent events. However, it was not the social media site who closed the page; it was the organizers. So far, Facebook has ignored pleas to close down any page created for the drinking game craze.
According to Facebook, the videos and pages do not break the rules of the site. A spokesperson stated that controversial topics are not something they ban, but directly harmful behavior, like bullying, is.
Pat Rabbitte, the communications minister who called for the ban, did admit that it is not entirely social media’s fault. He put the blame on the people who follow the “stupid ruse.” However, there is hope that social media banning the pages would help to prevent further deaths blamed on the “NekNomination” craze, like the one of the Northern Irish teen.
By Alexandria Ingham