Just say ‘No’ to the social media-driven condom-snorting challenge

Brightly colored condoms

Stuffing an opened condom up your nose and pulling it out of your mouth may not be the current teen trend it was recently blown up to be. Regardless of its current prevalence, however, the condom-snorting challenge is and was an exceptionally bad idea.

Media coverage resurgence of the faded 2013 trend apparently kicked off from a San Antonio, Texas KMPH Fox news story about a workshop for parents of teenagers. State education specialist Stephen Enriquez gave a presentation about drugs and dangerous trends to which teenagers fall prey.

“There are all kinds of drugs and kids are clever, so it’s just really what are our kids doing? So, that’s what we try to share,” Enriquez told KMPH.

The state presentation wasn’t limited to the condom-snorting challenge. Other trends to watch for included “Juuling” and Snapchat sexting. Parents also heard about monitoring apps to keep track of their teenagers’ cell phone usage.

Like many current teen trends, the condom-snorting challenge was all about getting attention in the form of social media “love.” Just as businesses use social media account attention for “social proof” marketing, teenagers often use social sites for approval.

Enriquez told KMPH kids seek ways to impress their peers online. “Because these days our teens are doing everything for likes, views, and subscribers,” Enriquez added. “As graphic as it is, we have to show parents because teens are going online looking for challenges and re-creating them.”

So, while it wasn’t the only trend served up at the San Antonio risky behavior workshop, the dangerous condom trick attracted the most attention. Media reaction to the misbegotten but in fact no-longer-trending condom-snorting challenge came quickly, with some outlets calling it the “latest teen trend.” Other reports pointed out that most YouTube condom-snorting challenge videos date back to 2013.

The risks of condom snorting are real. In an article in Forbes, contributor Bruce Lee wrote, “The condom could easily get stuck in your nose or your throat, blocking your breathing or causing you to choke.” Lee also cited two cases in which women suffered significant medical complications after accidentally swallowing condoms while performing oral sex. One woman developed pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung. A lodged condom fragment in the second woman’s appendix resulted in appendicitis.

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