Neknomination: A craze gone too far

 

A young Geordie man grins into the camera as he twists open a bottle of Listerine for his neknomination challenge. 

“I’m going to show you a proper drink now with no alcohol included”, he says as he deposits a large helping of mouthwash into a pint glass. “This is gonna keep you fresh as it goes down, see? Keep you nice and minty inside.” The mixture is then augmented with a dash of Mr Muscle, a splash of fake tan – perhaps not surprising for a Tyneside bacchanologist  – and a splattering of Tango Shower Gel and absinthe before being “necked” in less than five seconds.

Whilst watching this video, it’s hard not to marvel at the man’s ability to string two sentences together before drinking the stomach-churning concoction, let alone afterwards. Yet the video was buoyed and championed by hundreds of Facebook users, which in turn transformed the young man into a viral sensation overnight.

Neknomination is an online drinking game believed to have originated in Australia early last year. The premise was simple: drink a pint of an alcoholic beverage in one go and share the footage on the web. However as the game gained popularity, the objectives became increasingly extreme. The Australians approach neknomination with their customary, irreverent jocundity, a harmless dare for the blokes; the British have yet again lived up to their binge drinking culture and taken the game too far. What started as a pub game for the digital age has instead degraded and become a voyeuristic challenge with social media users finding amusement in the potentially lethal antics of an inane few.

Read more: Police to talk to the person who dared Isaac Richardson to consume alcoholic concoction
RSPCA hits out at 'awful' craze after man in Kent downs drink blended with mice, live grasshoppers and a spider
Police investigate second death from online drinking craze

The more outrageous the feat, the more shares it gets. And yet despite the tragedies that have ensued from this recklessness over the past month, students across the UK continue to embrace the drinking game, with popular student website The Tab recently publishing a list of some of the "best" neknominations from universities up and down the country.

Jason Boardman, a first year student at Chester University, says, "I've seen quite a few people from my university do the neknominations and I don't see the point in it. I was nominated a few weeks back but didn't do it. People are adding things like dog food to it and I just think it's pointless."

Emily Paterson, a second year student at the University of Salford, also refused to take part in the online drinking craze. “A lot of students are nominating each other, and while some of the challenges are just good fun, others are taking it too far, which in turn puts pressure on whoever is challenged to out-do their performance.

“I didn’t do my nomination and I got quite a bit of criticism for it, but I’m not going to be pressured into it. I enjoy a drink at the weekend, like the majority of students do, but I want to drink on my terms and on my level, not because someone has challenged me to drink silly amounts for a Facebook game.”

Whilst some users do adhere to the “Don’t be an idiot. Drink responsibly,” motto adopted - apparently without irony - by neknomination advocates, others seem hell bent on encouraging participants to be as outrageous and extreme as possible in the pursuit of such gutter entertainment.

Four deaths in Britain and Ireland have been linked to the drinking game in the past month, but this has not deterred the craze. Last week, a man from Kent achieved Internet notoriety after blending dead mice, stinging nettles, spiders and grasshoppers into his pint glass. Another man in Newcastle filmed himself drinking the blood of an elk, and a pallbearer at Lady Thatcher’s funeral was criticised by the press for downing two live goldfish for his challenge. And only Sunday, the drinking craze claimed a fifth life with 20 year old Bradley Eames drinking two pints of gin after proudly proclaiming to the camera; “This is how you drink.”

Whilst the majority of us will quite happily hold our hands up to being inebriated during fresher’s week - and will all readily point the finger at Ring of Fire as the catalyst of such intoxication - this new age online drinking game desensitizes social networkers and encourages crass irresponsibility amongst the vulnerable, idiotic and foolish. More than that, it is costing human lives.

Read more: Craze ‘claims fifth victim’ as 20-year-old Bradley Eames is found dead after downing two pints of gin
Neknomination: peer drinking pressure on a global scale

The author of this piece can be found tweeting at @HelenVaud

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
News
Supermarkets are running out of Easter Eggs
Deals make eggs cheaper than normal chocolate
Life & Style
Wasp factory: 1.3 million examples of the Vespa scooter have been sold in the last decade
motoringIconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SEN Learning Support Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Working within these environments can ...

School Cover Supervisors in Wakefield Area

£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Class cover supervisors in Wakefi...

Secondary Schools Cover Supervisors - Leeds

£50 - £70 per day + & travel and expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Urgently ...

English Teacher

Main Teacher Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: English Teacher RequiredImm...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act