Good Kids Play it

The Choking Game, also known as the “Good Kids High”. Studies suggest that up to 1000 of kids have died every year “playing” the “Choking Game”; these adolescents are well-behaved and successful children, generally high-achieving in academics, activities and sports. (Culture of Safety /

As parents we want to think our kids are smart enough to play a dangerous nonsense “game”, but we don’t realize their brains are not fully developed to think as adults. Studies have shown that brains continue to mature and develop throughout childhood and adolescence and well into early adulthood. Adolescents are more likely to engage in dangerous or risky behavior.

Many parents do not understand why their teenagers occasionally behave in an impulsive, irrational, or dangerous way. At times, it seems like teens don’t think things through or fully consider the consequences of their actions. Adolescents differ from adults in the way they behave, solve problems, and make decisions. There is a biological explanation for this difference.

Scientists have identified a specific region of the brain called the amygdala that is responsible for immediate reactions including fear and aggressive behavior. This region develops early. However, the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before we act, develops later. This part of the brain is still changing and maturing well into adulthood.

Based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to:

  • Act on impulse
  • Misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions
  • Get into accidents of all kinds
  • Get involved in fights
  • Engage in dangerous or risky behavior

Adolescents are less likely to:

  • Think before they act
  • Pause to consider the consequences of their actions
  • Change their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors