An old game is back in the spotlight with a controversial twist, and teenagers are now posting videos of themselves playing it online.

The knife game requires players to place their palm on the table, spread their fingers, and quickly stab the space in between with a knife.

A youth leader at a Halifax church says he is concerned about the trend after he saw a video of the game posted online by a girl he knew who is in Grade 9.

“When we did it, we used the back of a pen,” says Michael Goodwin. “The worst that’s going to happen is you’re going to maybe bruise your finger. This is irresponsible.”

The video was posted on the girl’s Facebook page. In the video, she says she didn’t think the knife game was cool at first, but then her friends started playing it.

“Certainly, if you’re hanging out with a group of peers that is really risk-taking, not assessing the negative consequences, you will clearly be more influenced in that direction,” says psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kutcher.

Kutcher says teens don’t assess risk as well as adults because in their minds, the possible positive outcomes of risk-taking trump the negative ones.

“This game is one example of learning which exploration is beneficial, and which is not going to be very beneficial.”

Both he and Goodwin hope teens will use their heads, instead of their hands, when it comes to the dangerous game.

“There’s sometimes very hidden dangers, and for this, there’s a very obvious danger that’s being ignored,” says Goodwin.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Plowman