Teens Are Dying Trying To Get High By Playing The “Choking Game”

- By Bossip Staff

This is really sad, and very serious. In recent years, nearly 100 young teens have lost their lives to something many of them thought of as a game. The recent deaths of two young Chicago area girls has prompted police to issue a warning to parents about what has been going on.

Fifteen-year-old Rebekah Toia was bright and attractive and had lots of friends. She was an honor student at Whitney Young High School, a softball player and loved writing fantasy stories and poetry.

The night before she died in her Northwest Side home, she had come home from a party, went into her room and an hour later came out and asked her mom if she could sleep with her. In the morning, her mother made pancakes for her. Rebekah took the dog out for its morning walk. When her mother left for work, each told the other, “I love you.”

When Barbara Toia came home from work Tuesday afternoon, she found Rebekah hanging by her neck from a cloth belt attached to the top of her bedroom door. She was not breathing.

Her death — and that of 14-year-old Angelena Ohanessian who died the same way two weeks earlier — have prompted Chicago police to issue an alert to parents about the dangers of the “choking game.”

Both girls, who didn’t know each other, succumbed to the deadly game, they say. The point of the game is to induce a feeling of euphoria by temporarily depriving the brain of oxygen by applying pressure to the neck until the person passes out.

Teens have been finding information — and instructions — about the choking game for years on the Internet, where it is variously known as Passout, the Fainting Game and Good Kids High, among other names.

In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 82 deaths attributed to it and other strangulation activities from 1995-2007. Most victims — unlike the two recent Chicago cases — were boys 11 to 16 years old.

Barbara Toia said she had no clue her daughter was engaging in the dangerous activity.

“There were no signs,” she said. “She asked for permission to do everything. She was a really responsible kid, no alcohol or drugs — a mama’s girl. She was so mature.”

When Barbara Toia got home from work late Tuesday afternoon, she called out for Rebekah but didn’t get an answer. She saw both the television and the computer on. She went up to her daughter’s bedroom and found her.

“I found her hanging. . .not hanging in the air. . .she was on tippy toes.”

“Hopefully my daughter’s death is for a purpose,” she continued, saying she wants to focus attention on the choking game and prompt parents to watch more closely for signs and seek help if necessary.

She said she plans on making herself available to other families when she is done with her own grieving.

Toia found something that indicated her daughter had been engaging in the choking game for some time. It was a jump rope her daughter had used to train for softball. But one of the handles had been removed to turn the rope into a noose.

Angelena was found hanging in her bedroom closet at her Northwest Side home on July 28 and died three days later. Police say she also had played the choking game.

“Angelena had told me about it, (that) some of the the kids had been playing this game,” said her mother, Violette Ohanessian. “I said tell me about about the game, it sounds absolutely ridiculous to me.

“I was absolutely convinced there was no way my child would do this. She wouldn’t do such a thing.”

Her father found her with a noose around her neck in her bedroom and cut her down. Her mother, a nurse, administered CPR. Angelena, who would have been a freshman next term at Resurrection College Prep High School, was pronounced dead three days later at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

While Angelena was in the hospital, her father found video on her cell phone of some of her friends playing the game. “My daughter took video of other kids doing this,” her mother said. “She knew about it and had been doing it with them,” he mother said.

“And she made a very bad choice.”

One police official said this morning that children may be playing the game because it’s not illegal.

“They don’t want to get in trouble,” he said, “so they’re trying to get a high. It’s not new for kids trying to get that feeling, but it’s got deadly consequences. This can become an addictive behavior.”

Here are the warning signs listed in the Chicago police alert:

• Strange bruising or red marks around the neck.

• Bloodshot eyes.

• Bed sheets, belts, T-shirts, ties, or ropes tied in strange knots and/or found in unusual places.

• Visiting Web sites or chat rooms mentioning asphyxiation or the choking game.

• Curiosity about asphyxiation (asking questions like “how does it feel?” or “what happens if?”).

• Locked or blocked bedroom or bathroom doors.

• Frequent, often severe headaches.

• Changes in attitude; becoming more aggressive.

• Wear marks on furniture (bunk beds or closet rods).

Police urged parents with questions to call Grand Central detectives at (312) 746-8282.

Dang, this is crazy! It seems like the girls who died both come from very supportive households — and even there parents had no idea what was going on. Please, if you have kids, talk to them about the dangers of this.


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  • Sydney

    …How are you an honor student…and your not smart enough to know that choking yourself is dangerous?

    • J

      that’s not funny…but it is

    • Droppin it like its hot since 1986

      @sydney soo true..as much as she has book sense she lacked plain common sense to know that it was the dumbest thing to do..she has caused her mom pain..so sorry to hear things like this actually happen…smh

  • No u can't be boyfriend #2!



  • dallascutie95

    WOW…is this what they for fun now…this is crazy…how is the idea of possibly dieing fun…So sad…

  • I Am Legend

    This is the dumbest game I ever heard of…If she wants to feel a euphoric high smoke sum good weed

    • Dirty30

      You see they aint blk girls we do that to handle business

  • http://esaw0111@rock.com REAL TALK



  • ses

    They defend our country and safeguard our policy.


    ‘ ___________M i l i t a r y f l i r t s * c. -0- m ____________



    show your love and respect to our military heroes.

  • SkyeD

    I means they be dumb lol

    • Chris1761

      Lmao…You got some nerve to call this girl dumb. Did you read what you just wrote? Nothin’ smart about that…..fall back.

  • NowDontbeMad

    Wow. When I was about 13 (about 7yrs ago) kids were doing this. I never engaged because it was dumb. It is something that a child will do if they want to. I don’t think there is really anyway to make sure your child isn’t doing it.

  • loc

    This is nothing new I’m 21 and heard about this back in middle school. I never knew anybody that did it I guessed it to be a white thing

  • tb

    Are black kids doing this foolishness?

    How really stupid do you have to be to choke yourself out like this. SMGDH…

    • ImJustSayin

      EXACTLY!! I was going to type something like that, but i’m at work. And everything is monitored. So i’ll just agree with you… 🙂

    • http://www.bossip.com BHD

      Black kids are into another type of foolishness…putting on blue or red bandannas and shooting eachother in the head;fighting over blocks that dont belong to them in a country that doesn’t respect blacks and later that day getting their a$$es kicked by Police.

    • Lovely

      @ BHP

      you should be named “PHD” that was the smartest thing i read on here lol. so true.

  • ~ChynaPeach~

    I cant even say I feel sorry becuase they were smart and knew what they were doin. Im just sorry they had to lose their lives over such non sense and had to leave family members to grieve.

  • Ripschit

    Wow! that’s crazy. We played the knock out game as kids but never tying a belt or rope around your neck. I was educated in public schools but I know suicide when I see it. We would hold our breath for 30sec and somebody would push on your chest and you would fall out and get a buzz but nothing like strangulation

  • SouthernBelle

    Sad, just sad

  • kisha

    this sound like fun game:))))

  • It's Me

    damn white kids. WHY WHY WHY. RIP


    Dumb Bishes!

  • Boo

    I would rather for them to hurt themselves than go around shooting other innocent people like thugs.

  • williedynamite

    well, where Im from this is not called a game…its called SUICIDE. smh

  • faith

    I have never heard of this those girls wanted to kill themselves not play around.

  • ManchesterUKer

    Just smoke weed or something weirdos

  • coldt7

    OH WELL!!!

  • MsRachael

    I don’t understand this at all. I’m so glad I have no kids.

  • dgrrl

    I used to do that too and this is the same thing. It’s just that these kids decided to play by themselves with deadly consequences. I didn’t know how to and never attempted do it by myself. They most likely did it many times before by themselves and kept at it until…

  • Eyez W!de Shut

    Ummm, I’m 22 and I never heard of this sh** in high school nor middle school. WTF is fun about getting choked? I guess I’m just 2 violent cuz u aint getting that close 2 my neck, we’d be fighting…and then 2 do it 2 yourself….GTFOH

    I’m a mama and I honestly rather my child just say “Mama, I smoked sum weed” then 2 come home and find dem dead.

  • CreoleMa

    How do they know its not a homicide or a suicide???? Their could be a killer out there one the loose right now and covering it up as a “choking game” (0_0) #uneverknow

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