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Neknominate: French bid to make craze illegal

Sophie Inge · 18 Mar 2014, 17:32

Published: 18 Mar 2014 17:32 GMT+01:00

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Neknominate, a global social media drinking game which involves people posting videos of themselves downing alcohol and then nominating others to do the same continues to raise alarm bells in France.

One month after the game claimed its fifth victim world wide, France’s National Association for Prevention of Alcoholism and Addiction (ANPAA)  wants the game to be criminalized under current French laws. This week they have filed legal proceedings in France, in a bid to stop the diffusion of the videos on line.

According to the association, those who share Neknomination videos online should face charges for "endangering the life of someone else" or for "forcing minors to drink excessive alcohol", an offences punishable by up to two years in prison and a €45,000 fine.

“Young people who start Neknomination challenges are not only putting themselves in danger but inciting other young people – mostly minors – to consume large amounts of alcohol, which is illegal,” Alain Rigaud, President of the ANPAA told The Local on Tuesday.

“There have already been deaths in England. Of course death is the most visible effect of the game but there have also been accidents which have resulted in serious injuries” he added.

Although there have not yet been deaths in France, Rigaud said there was a great risk to young people which could not be ignored.

"There are immediate risks such as accidents, as well as health and behavioral problems," he said. "In the case of adolescents who are still maturing and developing it can also have an impact on the brain which can affect their ability to learn and reduce their psycho-social skills."

Explaining the association’s hard-line approach Rigaud said: “While it’s important to offer advice to young people and parents there are more immediate risks that must be dealt with.

“Young people need to take responsibility for their actions and realize that their actions on social media aren’t private.”

The role of social networks?

Rigaud also pointed the finger of blame for the phenomenon at social media.

“Social networks are becoming a global problem. The internet is still seen as a new limit where everything is possible,” Rigaud said. “But social networks transmit this material and the question of their responsibility must also be asked.”

Story continues below…

The phenomenon Neknominate, like the planking craze before it, appears to have originated in Australia.

On February 16th, the game claimed its fifth victim. Bradley Eames, 20, from Nottingham in the UK, died four days after he filmed himself drinking two pints of gin with teabags.

Meanwhile, in February a Frenchman was lauded for trying to break the drinking craze by filming himself handing out food to homeless people and nominating others to do the same.

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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