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NekNominations: Harmless Fun or Dangerous Craze

Written by AndrewMusgrove1

In the last twelve months we’ve seen internet crazes sweep the platforms of social media, from the ‘Harlem Shake’ to ‘Planking’ and the latest to hit YouTube is NekNom

In the last twelve months we’ve seen internet crazes sweep the platforms of social media, from the ‘Harlem Shake’ to ‘Planking’ and the latest to hit YouTube is NekNominations.  This is where people are nominated to down a pint of alcohol that is made up of a number of liquids, after finishing the pint in one go that person nominates one of their friends who has to do the same within 24 hours.  This is all recorded and uploaded to the social media outlet of their choice. 

Simply search #NekNominations on Twitter and you’ll see how fast the craze has spread from its apparent origins in Australia. Dozens of Facebook pages have sprung up and YouTube is swamped with thousands of videos documenting young adults finishing their pints in one.

At first glance it may seem harmless—after all downing pints is nothing new.  I’ve done it and I’m guessing so have you. However, with NekNominations the reality is a little different, the beverage requested to be down is often a mixture of a larger and spirit and even bleach has been said to have been used. Downing a pint of Carling in one is relatively harmless (in moderation) to the dangerous cocktail that most NekNominations contain.

But one person, who’ll we name as John, says that the craze is ‘harmless.’ John downed a pint made up of Pimps, wine, Iron Bru, Peroni, milk and Baileys and did so to raise funds for his sports club tour.

‘People can take the craze as far as they want to. If you’re the sort of person to do dangerous and stupid things then this game is just an excuse not a cause,’ he argues.

The sports club, who only posted the NekNominations video only on their own Facebook page, charged a £3 fine to everyone who refused to accept a nomination but John claims that ‘it’s all good fun.’

‘A few lads did in fact choose not do it and pay the money.  We got posts from all over the world and in a way it brought unity to the club.’

While John’s NekNomination experience is limited to a sports culture where you’d be forgiven for assuming that comradery and the lad culture means that this sort of craze is norm, what happens when it leads to someone not used to this culture being nominated? 

‘Jumped in the river’

 Critics say death. The craze has been linked to deaths in the UK and Ireland with many more pictures of people covered in their own vomit making their way across social network.  Jonny Byrne, 19 drowned after jumping into the River Barlow, County Carlow apparently after partaking in NekNomination.  His brother, Patrick Byrne said:

‘He thought he had to try and beat the competition. After he necked his pint, he jumped in the river.’

Ross Cummins, a 22-year-old DJ from Dublin died on 1 February and his death is also being linked to the craze.

The issue of binge drinking has been striking for the last decade, with more and more injuries and death linked to excessive drinking but how does NekNomination affect it? It seems for many, it’s the peer pressure not only to carry out the nomination but also to top it.

As the weeks have progressed, it’s gone from simply downing a pint to drinking until you’re sick and downing your own vomit. Some people have even gone onto to sample their own urine or goldfish—all in the name of fun?

Craig, a 22-year-old student from Sheffield who received a Neknomination admits that he’s likely to carry it out despite reservations about the craze.

‘It’s stupid but you feel it’s a social obligation,’ he said. 

But why else do people carry out the nominations? Tom Burnet, a student from Sheffield who’s NekNomination can be found here, argues that the temptation do something that you’ve been told not to do is often too much.

‘My mum started seeing others videos, and kept turning to me saying “you best not do this, I’ll not be happy if you do” and well when someone says that, it’s like reverse psychology isn’t it?’ Burnet said. ‘I was originally not going to do it but that spur of the moment feeling got the better of me.’

Of course it can be argued that downing a pint is one thing and the connection to doing so and jumping in a river is non-existent.  Is it really that difficult to say no to a nomination?

Paul, a student from Newcastle who has 24 hours to complete his NekNomination argues that turning down a nomination all depends on where it comes from.  

‘If it’s from a society there comes group pressure and if there is a number of you friends who have already done it the pressure rises once more.  I’d be one of the only few to turn it down.’

Is it really a social obligation?

‘The idea is one upping, there is a fine line between doing that and going over the top, to the point where you put yourself in danger is the line.  Its only one drink, it’s your choice to moderate the drink: it’s your decision what goes into that drink.’

Internet crazes such as this often last for a month or two before dying out and the NekNomination will no doubt have the same outcome but for some the danger of it means of it is simply too much. The pressure not only to drink alcohol but to add ingredients to the pint which will more than likely result in sickness such as gravy or hair is putting people in danger, and the mixture of spirits and larger (despite the claims it doesn’t) clearly affects people partaking as soon as they’ve downed their pint.  In a number of videos, people are seen slurring words or losing their balance. 

Cyberbullying is also an issue for critics who feel the social media input of the craze will lead to those who reject the nomination to be vilified online, something which refers back to the ‘social obligation.’

However the general consensus among the young seems to be that that if people know their limits then NekNomination is not dangerous to anyone.  One student who wished to anonymous supported this view and claimed that people only nominate an ‘outgoing person because they’re more likely to do it and more likely to do something more stupid. ‘

 But for critics the burning question is, just where is the line drawn on stupid? As the fad intensifies will we see more adventurous NekNominations or will the craze quickly die out before anybody else gets hurts?

Here are some other views from our readers: 

What do you think of NekNominations? Have your say in the comments section below.