Gavin Lane Irish Red Cross
Irish Red Cross Support Assistant Gavin shares his experience, “I was ‘Neknominated’ – saying no wasn’t as easy as you might think”
You would have to be living under a rock (or at least be still connecting to the internet via dial-up!)  if you haven’t heard about the recent craze of Nek Nominations . THE CRAZE For those of you lucky enough not to have seen a video/heard a story/read an article, and are wondering what it is I am talking about, let me explain. ‘Neknominations’ involve a ‘neknominator’ who first posts a video of themselves on to their social media account downing a pint of alcohol and then ‘neknominate’ one or two of their friends to follow suit – within 24 hours. Being nominated to complete the dare online adds a sense of urgency to the craze, as it’s instantaneous nature means within moments of being posted to your account, a nomination can be seen by friends, friends of friends, and worryingly, complete strangers. Talk about pressure! To me, this ‘game’, is essentially just a new form of school yard pranking, and dare I say it, bullying. The only difference is, that while school yard games tend for the most part to stop right there in the school yard.  Neknominations reach a much wider public audience, leaving the nominee feeling obligated to partake. As with many crazes, the initial dare of ‘necking’ a pint of beer soon developed into something else.  People began to perform the nomination in different scenarios; fancy-dress costumes, dangerous locations.  Upping the ante, raising the stakes each time a nomination was made. In some cases, this has involved swapping the usual pint of beer for pints of spirits and highly potent forms of alcohol.  In others, it has included highly dangerous stunts. I WAS NEKNOMINATED Just last week, I was ‘Neknominated’ by a friend of mine via a social networking site. To be honest, I strongly considered partaking in the trend as my name had been posted along with the video for all my friends to see.  They now knew that I had been “called out”. The fact that the nomination was so public made me feel that I had to do it. I knew too, that if I didn’t complete the dare, I would be ridiculed by friends and by those who had already completed the task. After what seemed like a long period of consideration (remember I only had 24 hours to complete the task) and after watching some of the videos that were splattered all over my newsfeed, I decided not perform the nomination.  There were a couple of reasons for this. The first is because I have strong objections to the fact that I felt I was being pressured into doing something just because somebody “dared” me to on the internet. This made me feel uncomfortable and uneasy. The second reason is because it is the complete opposite idea of what I consider to be the social aspect of drinking alcohol. In my opinion, having a drink at the weekend, is more about social interaction with friends and family. Neknominations are nothing to do with socialising, but instead seem to be a speed test of your drinking capacity. The fact that, at 23 years of age, I was affected by something that was posted online is slightly worrying for me. I assumed that things of this nature were behind me after I left secondary school and my teenage years. The craze, of course, is just that, a fad – a trend, until something else comes along. But before anyone else completes the task, we should remember that this particular craze is dangerous and puts people at risk of illness, accidents and tragically, as we have learnt more recently, death. No dare is worth that.