Because of TikTok, the “Indian dream” derived from the “scarf game” is returning to schoolyards

Because of TikTok, the “Indian dream” derived from the “scarf game” is returning to schoolyards

Several illnesses linked to a “game” have been recorded in recent days in French colleges. The Indian dream consists of blocking your breathing to lose consciousness. Dr. Gérald Kierzek warns us of the potential dangers of this challenge seen on TikTok.

After the comma “game”, which flourishes among middle school students and which caused the hospitalization of a high school girl this week, another “game” reappears in schoolyards. The Indian dream, or Indian sleep, consists of voluntarily creating a loss of consciousness. And the demo videos are showing up on TikTok once again.

What is the Indian dream?

This Indian dream is not very poetic. Inspired by “scarf game” which had caused several deaths a few years ago, this softer variant consists of hyperventilating for a few seconds, before launching into a prolonged apnea by putting your thumb in your mouth. There is certainly no associated strangulation, but the videos and testimonies demonstrate it: the objective is a loss of consciousness or at least a state “in the dark”, sometimes frightening. The practice, however, is not new and regularly returns as a challenge in French colleges, but this time, the attraction of making a TikTok video seems to play into its popularity.

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Several cases of discomfort recorded in colleges

The matter is taken seriously. In Le Parisien, the Amiens academy confirmed in the September 28 edition that it had witnessed 5 or 6 reports of discomfort since the start of the school year. It’s not much, but enough to call parents to be vigilant. A communication was therefore sent to all the head teachers of the academy to raise awareness among families.

Also in Saint-Brieuc, in Côtes-d’Armor, a schoolgirl suffered serious illness on September 19, reports Europe Bleu Armorique.

“She got down on her knees, she huffed and puffed. Then she got up, she had a headache. She put her finger in her mouth and fell.” explains a friend who witnessed the scene in the playground.

The young girl had to be taken care of by the Samu.

A risk of discomfort, damage and slowing of the heart

In the videos relayed by TikTok, the children and adolescents who embark on this “Indian dream” do not seem to have any knowledge of the risks involved. However, this is not a trivial practice, as explained by Dr. Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens.

“There are two annoying things in this practice: on the one hand, the fact of no longer breathing and putting yourself in hypercapnia, that is to say increasing your CO2, to create a euphoric effect can go as far as loss of consciousness, or even a fall and associated injuries. On the other hand, if the child blocks his breathing by putting pressure on his neck (as in the scarf game), the pressure on the carotid artery and the vagus nerve can slowing down the heart, which can lead to cardiac arrest in extreme cases.”

In an article from June 2021, the newspaper Le Monde also detailed the risks adding to the lack of oxygen the risk of epileptic seizures and serious brain damage.

“There are so many reasons to experience discomfort and accidents that there is no point adding more” concludes our doctor.

TikTok is watching, but not enough

Aware of the problem of these new “idiotic” (and dangerous) challenges, the social network itself has set up a system to block videos responding to the Indian dream tag. It appears on the screen with a prevention message:

“Your safety is important. Some online challenges can be dangerous, disruptive, or even fabricated. Learn to recognize them to protect your health and well-being.”.

A precaution which will not be enough to slow down the youngest. According to Le Parisien, you just need to change the name from dream to Indian sleep to come across dozens of new videos.