NekNominate sweeps through Durham

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The phenomenon is sweeping the country, but the University hopes the dangers and risks of the game do not pass unnoticed.

To play this ‘drinking game’, a person is filmed whilst they ‘down’ an alcoholic drink. The video is then posted on Facebook and the subsequent ‘nominees’ are tagged, the idea being that they do the same.

A recent progression has seen ‘players’ try to surpass their nominee by taking on the challenge under increasingly extreme conditions.

These conditions could involve stronger or larger volumes of alcoholic beverages, performing the task in a particular location or performing some sort of risky stunt as the beverage is being consumed.

The National Student reports that ‘the drinking game was mentioned on social media as far back as 2011’, whilst the Cambridge Tab says Nek and Nominate dates back to 2008 in the city.

However, participants must increasingly ask themselves if they have taken sufficient consideration of the potential consequences before getting in front of the camera.

A number of deaths in the UK have resulted from excess consumption of alcohol during the game.

Just last week, lawyers warned that having challenged another to the came could be grounds for manslaughter if something were to happen to the nominee.

Students concerned about job prospects should also consider the implications of partaking in a game now associated with multiple fatalities in the UK.

The game’s popularity is evident. Genni Wetherell, Van Mildert College, said: “My news feed is constantly clogged up with videos of Nek and Nominees”.

Yet student opinion on the matter is not always a positive one. Kaisha Windred, Josephine Butler College, said: “I’m bored of this Nek Nomination business now.

“I don’t see why intoxicating your body in a matter of seconds should be a competition or something to laugh about.”

 The game has even given way to spin-offs. These have a more charitable scope, suggesting its viral nature makes it a phenomenon of potential (positive) importance.

Whilst this includes the somewhat dubious ‘Nip and Nominate’, videos have appeared on the net of nominees replacing ‘necking’ a drink with a blood donation. In others, they film themselves handing out food to the poor.

Some condemn this as a vain attempt of showing off generosity, but it at least conveys a more positive image than that of downing alcoholic drinks.

Grace Abel, Community Officer at Durham Students’ Union, said that because, “Many participants will already be under the influence of alcohol when carrying out the nomination” there is a high possibility of “reckless decisions being made”.

Abel highlighted the issue of peer pressure and perhaps even cyber-bullying surrounding what she described as a “craze”, but advised students “to steer clear of the fad and to likewise discourage their friends from participating.

Meanwhile, Team Durham is concerned at the risks Durham students are putting themselves at “in order to out-do their nominator”.

An email was issued to all team captains, insisting on the dangers of this “viral craze” and urging members to “think about the possible consequences to yourselves, your team, your College and your University.”

Discussions have emerged over how to control the craze. A blanket ban could have the adverse effect, encouraging people to indulge in the prohibited.

Abel reminded students that if they “feel pressured into participating, or if they have any concerns around cyber-bullying, we encourage them to speak to the quality advice service in Durham Students’ Union”.

Photograph: Emma Werner

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