We - Caring, Loving Parents - May be Impeding Education to our Kids, the Very Ones We Want to Protect!
Like Erik, many victims of the Choking Game did not fit the profile of an "at risk" youth. They were actively engaged in life and with no signs of personal or emotional challenge. These deaths are so blindsiding that families have trouble grasping that their child had even thought about it, much less tried it. They search for another reason for their child's death while knowing it was not a suicide. (We had this same reaction - despite police insistence Erik died of the choking game - until a brave schoolmate spoke up.)
I'm astonished to see the amount of discomfort on the part of parents to share our video with their kids. I don't believe their fear is the result of believing "if you tell them they might try it". Some parents also confuse the choking game with autoerotic asphyxia (AEA), but the choking game does not have a sexual component and is not AEA. Perhaps just hearing that kids are dying from the choking game causes a "deer-in-the-headlights" panic. After all, kids play and pull on each others' necks all the time. They see it in movies and on TV. These behaviors have been commonplace for decades.
I had never heard of the Choking Game prior to Erik's death. Erik was so smart and responsible. He could debate health care reform and national budget issues. Would he really try something that, to me, seemed so basically dangerous and ridiculously stupid? I forget he was only 12... .
And yet, parents are slow to share awareness with their kids.
One mom shares her own surprising reaction when
she showed "Help Stop the Choking Game" to her kids:
"As a mom watching it with my kids I was aware that I worried about how they would take it and was afraid it would be too much for them. Of course they were fine and I was very affected especially by the pictures of all the kids. Even though I am very supportive of this project I definitely experienced a moment of hesitation and fear once it got going. I think this is what you are running up against with the parents. There's a sense that somehow the video might shatter their kids' world when the truth is that the video shatters the parents' belief that they can keep their kids safe. I tell you this because its important for you to know what's under all the resistance. The idea of the video is far more terrifying for the parents than for the kids."