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28 September 2010, 16:33
A woman whose 13-year-old son hanged himself with a tie in his bedroom in Suffolk has called on internet site operators to erase anything which might encourage young people to experiment with strangulation.
Mother-of-five Jo Mison said she was convinced that her son Tyler had died after experimenting with a ``choking game'' and said parents and people working with children should be made aware of the dangers.
She was speaking after an inquest heard Tyler was found hanging from a cabin bed at his home in Shotley Gate, Suffolk, in September 2009. Coroner Peter Dean recorded an open verdict following a hearing in Ipswich.
Police said they could find no clues to indicate why Tyler had hanged himself and no evidence he had been playing a ``choking game''. However, Dr Dean said the possibility of ``some form of high-risk game experimentation'' could not be excluded.
Mrs Mison said she had conducted private research after Tyler's death and was sure he had been trying ``the choking game'' -which, she said, young people played to give themselves a ``high'', the inquest heard. She said in the weeks before his death Tyler had bloodshot eyes, headaches and marks on his neck. Mrs Mison said she had thought nothing of them at the time but with hindsight felt that they were classic signs of ``choking'' game experiments.
Mrs Mison said she quickly found details of the ``game'' on the internet and wanted to highlight the risks. ``I am 100% sure that is what he was doing,'' she said, after the inquest. ``I would say 90% of the signs were there - although I didn't think anything at the time.''
She added: ``I had never heard of 'the choking game' before. I don't think parents in Britain have. But it is well-known in America and you can find it on the internet. It is just like doing drugs. It gives kids a 'high'. I think teachers, parents, anyone who works with children should be made aware of the signs and the dangers.''
It is the second time in two months that a coroner examining the death of a teenage boy has heard evidence about ``the choking game''. In August, an inquest in Chelmsford, Essex, heard how a 13-year-boy from Braintree, Essex, died while apparently playing the ``game''. The hearing was told that Harry Robinson was found hanging by a dressing gown cord at his home in January. A coroner said it was believed that the youngster was involved in playing ``the choking game''.
Organisations including the British Youth Council and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre said they were unaware of the ``game''.
However, groups in America are raising concerns on the internet. An organisation called Radical Parenting warns on its website: ``The choking game is where kids use homemade nooses to hang themselves so they restrict oxygen. They compete for who can endure the longest and then also try to get a high from the lack of oxygen to their brain. Many teenagers have died playing this game....this is a serious issue.''