challenge culture
The Tide Pod challenge infiltrated social media at the beginning of 2018, but the challenge culture behind it has existed for far longer than that (Image via Pop Culture)

How Challenge Culture Is Single-Handedly Ruining Social Media

Breaking news: Challenge culture is stepping up its game with the condom-snorting and Tide Pod challenges.

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challenge culture
The Tide Pod challenge infiltrated social media at the beginning of 2018, but the challenge culture behind it has existed for far longer than that (Image via Pop Culture)

Breaking news: Challenge culture is stepping up its game with the condom-snorting and Tide Pod challenges.

If you’re a parent to a teenager, you don’t have to worry about your child doing drugs because they’re too busy inhaling condoms to fit in with the current challenge culture. It’s totally in right now, but what exactly is the condom challenge?

Con·dom Snort·ing (Verb): To stick a condom in your nostril and inhale until it comes through the other end and you are able to pull it out of your mouth. Example: “Stupid teenagers are condom snorting and posting videos of it online.”

Although condom snorting is currently reaching its peak, it’s a strange act that people have been doing for years. In fact, inhaling condoms started to gain online exposure back in 2013 when YouTuber Amber-Lynn Strong uploaded a video of herself doing just that. YouTube has since taken down the video due to “harmful or dangerous content,” and they’re not wrong — snorting a condom can be life-threatening.

Teenagers have been snorting condoms since 2013 when Amber-Lynn Strong posted a video of herself doing it on YouTube, and the deadly trend further contributed to challenge culture (Image via ABC News)

Dr. Krishna Upadhya, a physician at the Children’s National Health System, says that although she has never had a patient who has done the condom challenge, she still advises that no one attempts it.

In a conversation with The Washington Post, Dr. Upadhya said that anyone trying the dangerous challenge could very easily suck the condom down their windpipe, resulting in suffocation.

Another risk you’d be taking if you attempt the infamous challenge is possibly blocking your gastrointestinal tract by unintentionally swallowing the condom, and at that point, you would need to be operated on in order to remove the latex contraceptive.

Given the numerous risks, why would anyone want to attempt the condom challenge? Oh, I know why! The likes, views and comments. Yup, your child is risking their life for temporary online attention.

Challenge culture is a deeply rooted online phenomenon, whether the challenge is dangerous or not. Teenagers have been doing stupid things for years, but the condom challenge, in particular, has gained news coverage in recent months. Stephen Enriquez, a San Antonio state education specialist, could be responsible for the national spotlight on such challenges.

Enriquez visited a San Antonio school to warn parents of not only drug and alcohol abuse among teens but of popular online challenges as well. Since then, the challenge has been known as “every parent’s worst nightmare,” according to USA Today.

If people don’t call out public displays of stupidity, they will continue, and someone may actually get hurt next time. Enriquez told a Fox News affiliate, “As graphic as it is, we have to show parents because teens are going online looking for challenges and re-creating them.”

The truth of the matter is if the internet didn’t exist, half of the challenges we have today wouldn’t exist either because let’s be real — who is actually snorting condoms and eating Tide Pods for their own enjoyment? If that person is you or someone you know, please call 1-800-GET-HELP.

After all, it’s not even halfway through 2018, and there have already been 37 reported incidents of teenagers exposing themselves to the health risks after ingesting the notorious liquid laundry detergent alternative: the Tide Pod. It comes as no surprise that half of those cases were intentional, according to data.

Due to the current challenge culture on the internet, several people attempted to consume Tide Pods in 2018 (Image via New York Post)

It looks like companies need to start replacing their warning tags with, “Warning: Choking Hazard. Not for children under 18 years.”

The Tide Pod challenge garnered so much publicity that Tide had to put out a PSA video on YouTube that clearly stated that the laundry detergent pods should not be consumed, even as a joke. It’s quite disappointing that these idiotic challenges stand as an example of the first world problems society is dealing with.

Anybody in their right mind could decipher actual edible candy from a Tide Pod, which leads me to raise an eyebrow at teenagers who are participating in the challenge. Otto Felix, a high school student tells KUTV News, “People will do the most stupid stuff ever. It’s about the likes, the views on Instagram, the followers, the false sense of popularity.”

Unfortunately, young people are prone to doing stupid things, but the existence of social media motivates them even more because of the desire for attention. Remember the ancient salt and ice challenge where people purposely burned themselves? How about the cinnamon challenge where participants set themselves up to choke on a mouthful of cinnamon?

Cinnamon Challenge BEST Compilation short part 2 NEW

With the rise of social media and trends rapidly coming in and out of mainstream media, challenge culture probably won’t end anytime soon. However, people publicly shaming dangerous challenges is a step in the right direction because it will educate not only the younger generation but their parents as well.

The use of Instagram, YouTube and Twitter can be very powerful and effective to reach a large audience rather quickly; therefore, users should take advantage of modern technology to raise awareness and contribute something meaningful to society rather than posting a video of condom snorting or Tide Pod consumption.

Writer Profile

Vanessa Le

Chabot College

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