Society

'Stop Before It's Too Late:' 14-Year-Old Boy Dies Playing The Choking Game

| by Jonathan Constante

A British mother is trying to raise awareness about a dangerous game that took the life of her 14-year-old son.

Selina Booth, 37, found her son Jack Pickles dead in his bed in February after he was playing the “choking game,” the Daily Mail reported. She is now trying to stop other kids from suffering a similar fate by raising awareness of the dangers of the game.

“They call it the ‘good boys game’ because it's not taking drugs or alcohol,” Booth told Halifax Courier. “They actually think it's not going to harm them. Don't think it's safe because it causes seizures, hemorrhages, memory loss and there are kids in comas because of it."

The "game" is played by teens who choke themselves in order to experience a brief high.

Booth added that kids should "stop before it's too late."

“Do you want it to be your mum who hugs clothes that you're not in anymore just to smell you?," she said. "Do you want your mum to ask your mates around so she feels that little bit closer to you?”

(Selina Booth with Jack's school friends, via Halifax Courier)

Jack’s death was ruled an accident, but many victims of the choking game are often recorded as suicide. Booth, who has two other children, said she thought Jack was “messing around” before she realized he was dead.

“Jack loved YouTube,” she said. “He had his own site on there. I think that's where he found that choking game.

“I will get the Chief Coroner's Office knowing about this game, the police knowing about this game, schools knowing about this game and doctors knowing about this game. At the moment they don't even know the warning signs."

Booth added that she also wants to start a charity in her son's name.

“I just need help in fundraising it and getting it there," she said. "I don't want another kid going down as a suicide because of this game.”

Booth is warning other parents too lookout for bloodshot eyes, bleeding moles, marks on the neck, hearing loud bangs in the night and teens locking themselves in their rooms.

(Jack Pickles, via Halifax Courier)

“Jack was my best friend," Booth said. "We just did everything together - shopping, wrestling, holidays and days out.

"He was just funny. He was always doing something, whether it was eating silly food or telling jokes. He loved football, especially going to watch Burnley.”

The choking game, at times referred to as the "pass out challenge," made headlines in 2014 after several teens recorded themselves playing the game, CBS St. Louis reported. Troy Zalaback, 14, died in 2009, and his death was initially ruled a suicide by police until investigators found instructions on how to play the choking game on his computer and cellphone's search history.

Sources: Daily Mail, Halifax Courier, CBS St. Louis

Photo Credit: Halifax Courier, Zoyan Brenn/Flickr