The Knockout Game

This is Day 20 of NaBloPoMo, meaning I’ve done 20 posts in 20 days.  I’ve worked hard to keep it fresh, informative and worth your time, but I think I’m not quite as creative as I hoped I was.  I had to go back to Google trends to find a topic. The first thing that jumped out at me was the Knockout Game.

This ISN'T the game making headlines

This ISN’T the game making headlines

No, this isn’t the game I’m talking about, although if you were a kid in the U.S.A between 1965-1991, this might be the first thing to come to mind. The Knockout Game that I am talking about is much more sinister.

This “knockout,” also known as “One Hitter Quitter”  is a game that teens across the country (and now spreading abroad) are taking part in, knocking a random victim unconscious, just for the fun of it.

If this is a “game” that is gaining popularity, what does that say about us as a society?

A couple days ago I posted Taking The Bull By The HornsI talked about empowering kids to do good, to help them make an impact, even at the youngest ages. There is a feeling that comes from this that cannot be duplicated. Not only does it make them feel good, it gives them control, in a positive way. It channels normal feelings (the desire for power and control) in a good direction. It uses the momentum for good rather than evil. Done on a regular basis, it becomes habit, and a mindset.

It makes me wonder if the teens who find the knockout game appealing had been raised with this type influence, would even care about such an activity. If their need for control and power had been harnessed in a positive direction, would still be seeing trends like these?

Of course, there will always be a few bad eggs, but I wonder if we focused more on the positive, and fostering it in our children, if we couldn’t make a HUGE impact. Taking it one step further, I would say it is our responsibility to try to foster this in ALL children, not just our own.

If you were ever a psychology student ( I was! I have a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Tampa) you probably have heard of the Stanford Prison Experiment (1971.) Even if you weren’t there were plenty of references to it a few years ago when the scandal at Abu Ghraib was breaking news. In case you are unfamiliar, the experiment’s purpose was to test the effect of situational variables on human behavior. Students were assigned a role as a detainee or “guard” in a mock prison for the experiment, which was to last 14 days. By day SIX, observers felt the need to abruptly end the study. Why?  Because things took a turn toward the sadistic. Student “guards” were corrupted by power and control, becoming increasingly abusive and cruel. Only a few were able to resist the situational temptations.

So how does this relate to the knockout game, and JA? We know that these feelings are deeply rooted in the human psyche. We know that they are affected by situational environment. We can use this knowledge to harness that power and use it for good, and NOT JUST IN OUR OWN KIDS.  We must create an environment that fosters the good stuff, rather than one which fosters these types of temptations. Obviously the same factors are at work with the teens who are participating in the knockout game.

So how do we do that? The same concepts I talked about in “Taking the Bull by The Horns” can be applied to other people’s kids. Have your kids bring a friend to the Jingle Bell Run. Host a party at your house for a bunch of their friends where they make some craft or product to be sold as a fund raiser. Make it a FUN time, so they will want to do it again. Keep them in the loop about the difference they made, by eating pizza and making paracord bracelets instead of sitting in front of a video game that saturday.

dmitri's paracords

Dmitri’s Paracords for a Cure

Agree to host a project or event just like that at an after school center, school or group home for kids. Give them something positive to participate in. It takes a village to raise a child, its not just someone else’s job.

Just think of all the extra manpower we could harness to promote our causes. Just think of the ripple effect that could make, not just for the cause, but in every person that it touches- both the giver and the receiver. Think of the spark that YOU could ignite in another child.

That’s the kind of thing that could make trends like the knockout game a thing of the past. Its OUR job to help make that happen too.

Have you encouraged your kids to get involved in charity work? HOw have you empowered them?  Have you enlisted the help of  their friends or other youth in your extended family? I would love to share your story!




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  1. I love reading your blog Kim! Thank you for mentioning the CureJM fundraiser and our paracord event! My son has JDM and we will do anything we can to help find a cure!

  2. Holy cow! That is horrible! What brought those kids to the point where they think it’s fun?!
    Karen recently posted…The Wall We SharedMy Profile

    • I think its really a deep seated power and control thing, and they types of kids who are doing it, really have none…so this is what they do to satisfy those feelings. I think we really can make a difference if we train our kids (and as many others as we come into contact with) to satisfy these needs in a positive way. The ripple effect would be huge as well.

  3. Really good post and topic (as usual) Kim. I was thinking about this a lot yesterday, and I really think it comes down to several things. The visceral attitude that the political debate has brought on in our country paired with the “instant star” mentality of making something viral is twisting the minds of our children.
    Cheri recently posted…My How Times Have ChangedMy Profile

    • Thanks Cheri- I think we all have to take some responsibility to “fix” things, even if it isn’t our fault. We have gotten here (collectively) somehow, and maybe the its-not-my-problem mentality has something to do with that. The internet has been great in many regards, but it also provides instant access to all the “bad” stuff too, and the inclination to spur more copycat crimes or attention-getting activities. The good stuff rarely goes viral. WE can all play a part in changing that too. It IS our problem, and we need to do something about it, wherever and however we can. Thanks (as always) for your encouragement!

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