While it sounds like an April Fool’s joke, educators are warning about a “condom challenge” being spread online by YouTube videos and social media.
Also known as the “snorting condom challenge” or “condom-snorting challenge,” the fad actually dates back several years but has recently gone viral again, educators say.
“Because these days our teens are doing everything for likes, views and subscribers,” Stephen Enriquez, a state education specialist, told KPMH. “As graphic as it is, we have to show parents because teens are going online looking for challenges and recreating them.”
Here’s the lowdown:
1. Wait. Snorting condoms?
The challenge involves snorting an unwrapped condom up one nostril, then pulling the condom from the throat out the mouth, reported Newsweek. Participants typically then post a video of the completed challenge to YouTube.
A different “condom challenge” made the rounds back in 2015, involving videos of water-filled condoms being dropped on people’s heads, drenching them, reported The Debrief.
2. Going viral
The challenge has gone viral, particularly on YouTube, where thousands of videos of people – mostly teens but also some young adults who host channels on the site – snorting condoms have been posted.
3. It’s not new
One of the first condom-snorting challenge videos was posted by YouTube star Savannah Strong in 2013, according to ABC News. That video, and others dating back at least 2007, have been since been removed by YouTube for violating the site’s policy on harmful or dangerous content.
Stories on the “bizarre viral trend” appeared on The Huffington Post in 2013 and in The New York Daily News in 2015, among others.
4. Not the best idea
Snorting a condom up your nose not only poses a choking hazard but also puts you at risk for allergic reactions and infections, reports Forbes. The publication also cites two cases reviewed in medical journals in which women accidentally swallowed condoms, developing ailments ranging from pneumonia to appendicitis.
“Even if you manage to successfully pull the condom out through your mouth, inhaling a condom up your nose would be very uncomfortable and potentially quite painful,” writes Bruce Y. Lee, an associated professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in the Forbes report. “Would it really be worth all that just to get more likes and views?”
5. Only the latest fad
The condom snorting challenge may eclipse the most recent viral video fad among teenagers, which involved eating brightly colored Tide Pods, reported The Washington Post. Tide and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission both issued warnings against eating detergent.
Some past video challenges, such as the “ice-bucket challenge,” have helped raise money for charity, but others, such as “bath salt challenge” can be dangerous, The Washington Post reported.