It has been reported that there has already been a near-fatal incident involving a young person who took part in the American Dream game.
It involves the person causing themselves to lose consciousness, usually by tying a tie or string around their neck, until the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off.
The intention is, apparently, to provoke a near-death experience, which results in the young person fainting.
Dr Neil Brennan, consultant respiratory physician at Mercy University Hospital in Cork, said this highly dangerous activity will undoubtedly cause the death of a child if it becomes widespread.
“Such strangulation can cause sufficient brain damage to kill somebody if the blood supply is stopped for a few minutes,” he said.
“But it could cause some people’s hearts to stop after just 20 to 30 seconds if there is enough pressure around the neck,” Dr Brennan warned.
He also suggested that other unforeseen effects could include epileptic or other seizures, which could prove lethal if there are complications.
“This is a highly dangerous thing to do and it will cause fatalities sooner or later,” said Dr Brennan.
National Parents Council (Primary) chief executive Fionnuala Kilfeather warned against hyping up the situation but said safety issues should be discussed with children.
“We don’t want parents to go telling their kids how to do these things, but they should be made aware of responsible behaviour and looking out for other people,” she said.
“It could be approached in the same way as road safety or other issues.
“Obviously, this phenomenon is completely dangerous although, thankfully, we haven’t any direct evidence of it happening in Irish schools,” said Ms Kilfeather.