If you have been alive in the 21st century and do not live in a cave, then you have probably noticed the neknomination craze that has infiltrated social media. Yes, infiltrated. For those who do live in a cave, a neknomination involves young adults, often teens, who record a video of themselves drinking and then nominate two others to “up the ante” within the next 24 hours. Neknominations have led to many deaths, whether because of alcohol poisoning or poor decisions after the fact (http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/deadly-online-neknomination-drinking-game-has-officials-concerned-1.1673468; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/neknomination-craze-claims-fifth-victim-as-20yearold-bradley-eames-is-found-dead-after-downing-two-pints-of-gin-9131987.html). Furthermore, they are a desperate cry for attention and shine a light on how we glorify binge drinking in our society even though it poses a major issue in all aspects of our society: health care systems, families, unplanned children, mental health issues, crime rates, etc. Adults over 18, although legally allowed to consume beverages, should reconsider their decision to participate in neknominations. Although it seems like “just a fun thing to do” it can have large consequences on future generations and those that take it too far. And if they think it doesn’t impact the future generations of underage children, they are wrong. About 11% of alcohol is consumed by underage teens. Furthermore, about 40% of underage children binge drink regularly making them more susceptible to alcohol dependence. Drinking also impacts memory and learning development in teens (http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm). The neknomination trend is now in our high schools and our students will face peer pressure to participate. There is nothing to be proved by chugging a beer and so I wonder why are people participating in this like a herd of mindless sheep? I miss the days when the internet was about cat videos. If we could bring back that cat videos, that would be great – or people could go get a hobby!
However, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. What started as a terrible cry for Facebook likes was turned into raknominations (random acts of kindness nominations) or nicenominations by Mr. Lindeque of South Africa (http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/south-african-man-brent-lindeque-turns-neknominate-on-its-head/story-fnjwmwrh-1226818264791). Since then, people have started to pay it forward (http://globalnews.ca/news/1136156/online-drinking-game-neknominations-inspiring-canadians-to-pay-it-forward/). I think as educators we need to promote what we love and make our own raknominations or nicenominations. Bashing what we hate will not work but educators and adults can be leaders who steer kids in the right direction. My attempt at a nicenomination was made for just that purpose: to get students to do something positive with their time. Children are the next generation in this world and I want it to be a happy future, where kindness is the only thing people binge on. This video also highlights how easy it is to do nice things. My best friend and I simply cleared out our closets and donated to Carmichael Outreach. It was easy! But it felt great (a level of greatness that cannot be accomplished by chugging a few beer).
There is always a way to make things better and I think nicenominations do just that. I do not have a classroom currently, but I would invite teachers to do nicenominations with their students, as it ties into the cross curricular competency of becoming responsible citizens and relates to their daily lives. Furthermore, I think it is important to get students to be themselves and not follow the crowd of “mindless sheep.” Be the change!