• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
New French social media craze leads to teen death
Two participants of the social media game "a l'eau ou resto" (to the water or the restaurant). Photo: YouTube

New French social media craze leads to teen death

Ben McPartland · 13 Jun 2014, 16:26

Published: 13 Jun 2014 16:26 GMT+02:00

The 19-year-old drowned in a river in a town in Brittany, western France after taking part in a new social media game called “a l’eau ou au resto” (the water or a restaurant).

The game involves challenging people to throw themselves into the cold waters of the sea or a river, then posting a film on Facebook and challenging other friends to do the same. They must take on the dare within 48 hours or if not then the forfeit is to buy their friends a meal at a restaurant.

The game, which sounds harmless enough, has seen youths throwing themselves into the sea in ports like Dunkirk and Calais in northern France in recent weeks. The tragic incident in Brittany is believed to be the first death linked to the game, which appears to have originated in the Faroe Islands before spreading to Norway.

According to reports the teenager tied his bike to his leg so he would not lose it in the river before riding into the water of the Vilaine river near the town of Béganne. “The river was six metres deep and he could not get back to the surface,” police colonel Sylvain Laniel told TV station France 3 Brittany.

(The tweet below shows an image of the police and press at the scene of the tragic death)

After the death in Brittany authorities have issued a warning to young Facebook users about the dangers of taking on the challenge.

“It’s a tragic and stupid game,” said deputy prosecutor Igor Souchu before calling for “restraint and caution” around the new craze.

The death occurred on the same day that national police chiefs issued a warning about the game after a young man was left critically injured after jumping in to the sea at Wimereux, near Calais.

“Even if it feels like fun, there is a risk of drowning, accidents and slips,” said Frank Dehay from the national police body DGPN.

In April this year our colleagues at The Local Norway reported how a similar take on the game was gripping the nation, with apparently no one being unable to escape the challenge.

The 'Jump in the Sea Challenge' sees victims dared to throw themselves into icy waters to avoid a penalty, which normally involves buying the challenger large amounts of alcohol. 

The videos below taken from YouTube show people taking on the challenge.

Story continues below…

The new social media game comes after the global online drinking craze Neknominate provoked concerns after several people died.

Neknominate, which involves people posting videos of themselves downing alcohol and then nominating others to do the same, raised 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.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Saudi princess 'told guard to kill Paris decorator'
Photo: Eurovizion/Flickr

"You have to kill this dog, he doesn't deserve to live," the princess allegedly said.

Paying for sex in France: Has the new law been effective?

Around 40 sex buyers are caught each month across the whole of France. Does that sound like much?

Only in France: 'Drive slowly - grape juice on the roads'
Photo: Rexness/Flickr

You know you're in France when...

France gives lift off to tough new drone laws
Photo: AFP

Time to crack down on drones, say French lawmakers.

Bienvenue en France: France cuts red tape for UK firms
Photo: AFP

France is ready to roll out the red carpet for UK firms quitting Britain because of Brexit fears.

VIDEO: Is life on a French café terrace really this bad?
Photo: Canal Plus

Bird poo, bums and butts: Is life on les terraces really as bad as this?

'Five terror plots thwarted' on Riviera since Nice attack
A police boat patrols the waters off the beach in Nice during the summer. Photo: AFP

Authorities in Nice say five potentially deadly terror plots on the French Riviera have been foiled since the Bastille Day truck attack in the resort.

IN PICTURES
French firefighters calendar to provoke global palpitations
Photo: Fred Goudon

Warning: Some readers may suffer palpitations, sweats or other side-effects when reading this story.

Why Paris beach festival could be sand-free in future
Photo: AFP

Is a beach with no sand still a beach?

Lost without translation: The struggles of Calais migrants
Communication problems in the Calais jungle camp. Photo: AFP

So many languages are spoken in the Calais jungle migrant camp but French is rarely heard.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
2,731
jobs available