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Teens promote safe sex unsafely with newest trend #CondomChallenge

It’s called the #condomchallenge — but it may not hold water.

Say what you want about teenagers on the Internet, but social media is increasingly becoming a powerful tool for encouraging (or at least attempting) people to participate in social good. Take, for example, the latest #condomchallenge intended to spotlight the importance of safe sex and using condoms. But despite the best of intentions, this stunt seems astonishingly unsafe.

The trend involves filling a condom as full as possible with water, so it looks like a blown-up balloon, and then dropping it onto someone else’s head. If you’ve managed this part correctly, the condom should end up wrapped around his or her head, with the water surrounding the face, yet still in the condom. The concern, of course, is not just the risk of suffocating while in a tub with a condom sucked to your face but also the possibility of drowning from the water inside the condom.

Indeed, for the most part, it is rarely a good idea to put a condom over your head.

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The craze apparently kicked off last week by a group of friends in Japan in a YouTube video titled, “Japanese Condom Head Challenge.” The video currently has over 20,000 views and to some might seem an unlikely place for a safe sex campaign to start. Just a couple years ago, Japanese young people also started the trend to completely stop having sex, raising concerns that Japan “might eventually perish into extinction,” according to The Guardian.

The #condomchallenge isn’t the first time condoms have become part of an unsafe Internet craze either. Around the same time people began worrying about young people in Japan abstaining from sex, young people in other areas of the world participated in a trend that involved snorting condoms and then pulling them out of their mouths. And then there’s the cinnamon challenge. Sheesh.

While many of these trends seem disturbing and come with risks, some believe the various condom crazes on social media can become useful. And, at least we can rest assured knowing that young people might finally get the importance of using a condom properly.