Neknominate: Harmless Fun or Symptom of Social Decline?

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Photo c/o of The Telegraph

Photo c/o of The Telegraph

If you use social media, particularly Facebook, you will have heard of the relatively new craze called Neknominate. It is a drinking game that involves filming yourself draining a drink, sharing it on social media, and nominating a friend to do the same. The craze originated in Australia, and has quickly gained traction on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Personally, I’ve witnessed pints of lager, whole bottles of wine, and mixtures of several spirits poured into a single, vile concoction. The system seems to be that of ‘one-upping’ the person who nominated you, in an attempt to impress those who watch the video.
There have been reports from various sources of deaths related to Neknominate, totalling three or four in the UK and Ireland alone. The most recent was in Wales, but currently stands only as an inquiry into the death of the victim, 29-year-old Stephen Brooks.
Alcohol: Photo c/o Lancashire Police

Alcohol: Photo c/o Lancashire Police

The media has so far reported the deaths as being directly caused by the Neknominate drinking game. This perspective overlooks the already established binge drinking culture in Britain. That Neknominate alone is the cause of these deaths is misinformed, as there are many alcohol-related deaths in Britain daily. In 2011 alone, there were 8,748 alcohol-related deaths, the equivalent of 24 per day. More information can be found here.

Neknominate seems to be a symptom of the combination of social media and drinking culture in Britain, not an independent problem. This does not make it acceptable of course, as sharing drinking stunts among friends with the purpose of nominating another to do the same only exacerbates the issue. When a Neknominate video featuring a friend is watched, it seems like harmless fun. If you take a wider perspective the inherent problems of the craze are made clear. Social media is used by increasingly younger people, and for them to be exposed to such promotion of binge drinking is clearly a bad thing. Drink responsibly.

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Sam Friend is a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, studying History and Politics. He is passionate about reading, writing, and music. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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