Drinkaware calls for action against NekNominate

19 February, 2014

Alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware has called on parents to take the lead against extreme drinking challenges like NekNominate on social media sites. 

The call comes as the third NekNominate-related death was announced.

The charity said that children need their parents to take a tough line to help teenagers resist the online pressure to participate in these potentially fatal games. New research conducted for Drinkaware and released today confirms the effect of peer pressure in encouraging children to drink.

So far three young people have died apparently after drinking in a NekNominate challenge. The NekNominate craze involves participants filming themselves consuming large amounts of alcohol in one go, nominating someone else to continue the game, and posting the video on Facebook.

The charity is concerned the trend may spread to younger teens and offers advice to parents to give them confidence to talk to their children about resisting the pressure to take part.

Research conducted by Ipsos MORI among 10-17 year olds in the UK highlights the role of peer pressure and social media in encouraging children to drink alcohol underage. It shows the likelihood of a child having had an alcoholic drink correlates with their friends’ drinking habits. According to the report, children are more than twice as likely to have had an alcoholic drink if they have felt encouraged to do so.

The research also revealed that over a third (35%) of 10-17 year olds who use social networking sites report seeing images of their friends drunk, leading to concerns that younger children seeing these images could feel pressure to get involved.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, medical adviser to alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: “Young people often say they feel peer pressure to drink to fit in, but competitions to drink excessively in a short space of time can be dangerous and this should not come as a surprise.

“Quite apart from the risk of accident or injury as a result of drinking to excess, there is another aspect to these online drinking games which is the “cybershame” some young people may experience. Drinkaware research shows nearly half (47%) of 18-24 year olds admitted un-tagging drunk photos of themselves that they didn’t want others to see. However there is still a chance that these photos may be seen by universities and prospective employers.

“So while it may seem like a lot of fun at the time, the potential for negative consequences are no laughing matter.”

For information and advice, visit Drinkaware.co.uk/parents.

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