The online storm: Neknominations

The online drinking game called Neknomination is currently making its way through Canada and the U.S. Canadian teens and post-secondary students have hopped on this bandwagon without questioning any potential dangers or future consequences.

Neknominations require a nominated participant to drink an alcoholic beverage, such as a pint of beer or glass of straight alcohol, in one gulp while filming the stunt to put on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media site. The nominated person is supposed to complete the task within 24 hours and then nominate two or three other people online.

This trend has left the online world with over a million uploaded videos of young people trying to out-do their friends and other participants.

The origins of the online drinking game date back to 2008 in Australia, but has taken on different forms in every country.

In the U.K., Neknomination became very controversial due to at least five deaths that were caused by binge drinking.

“I first heard about Neknominations when they started dominating my news feed. I had no idea what they were until I googled it and learned that it was an online drinking game,” said Nichole Persall, a psychology and health studies student at Queen’s University.

Persall is a supporter of the South African approach to the game where instead of completing stunts and drinking, people perform random acts of kindness and then nominate others to do the same.

“I had originally decided that if I got neknominated that I wouldn’t partake in the shenanigans. However, when my best friend from high school, Melissa Lyne, tagged me in her “pay it forward” video, I changed my mind. She had dedicated her video to all the goldfish that had been slaughtered in blenders for the amusement of Facebook users and instead of binge drinking, she donated towels, food and toys to an animal shelter. Now this is something actually worth doing” said Persall.

Unfortunately Persall and her friend Melissa are not the majority. The “pay it forward” videos did not catch on and go viral like the drinking videos. Although one of the two people that Persall did nominate did “pay if forward.”

The online binge drinking game began to tamper down but everyday people continue to be nominated and those people continue to fall into the peer pressure to obtain a few “likes” and comments on Facebook.

“It seems that peer pressure to engage in nice acts just isn’t as strong as the peer pressure to binge drink,” said Persall.