Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Teens are probably not snorting condoms up their noses, but feel free to panic anyway

If you’ve been on the internet this week, you might have noticed any number of very credulous and alarming headlines about the latest trend in high-test teenaged dumbassery: “The Condom Challenge.”

The ostensible trend is straightforward: a teen (your teen?) inhales an unwrapped condom in through one nostril and pulls it out through either the other or their mouth. The teen films this act and uploads it to YouTube, thereby receiving the “likes and subscribes” it needs to keep its batteries charged or however it is teens function these days.


In the name of journalism, you are hereby invited to check this shit out:

The appeal of the trend, to teens, yes, but also to parents desperately seeking their next hit of media-panic endorphins is also fairly simple. The condom challenge features an intoxicating mix of condoms (just like the kind these teens could be having sex with!), snorting (what else might they be putting up there?), and the word “challenge.” Surely no idiot teen could resist the siren call of such a pointless dare, no more than any bored parent could resist the invitation to handwringing therein.

Of course, just as the content soup was getting nice and frothy, the killjoys over at Snopes had barge in and point out that basically no one is actually doing this. As it turns out, there are very few videos on YouTube of the condom challenge actually being performed, and those that do exist either were posted in 2013 or have been re-uploaded to capitalize on the current media scare. The teens you see in those videos probably have marketing degrees and juice startups by this point.

As noted by Select All’s Madison Malone Kircher, the origins of this renewed panic seems to come from a March 28 report from Fox’s San Antonio affiliate, in which a Texas state education specialist named Stephen Enriquez runs a class where parents are invited to learn the latest in “dangerous trends,” and apparently while they’re there check out some cool YouTube videos from 2013.

Now, some may argue that perhaps the real issue is not teens inhaling prophylactics, or well-intentioned overly concerned parents, but the outsized amount of coverage from outlets thirsty for the next Dumb Teen Challenge. Is it possible that The Condom Challenge, while not currently an actual thing, could manifest itself into reality through the popularity of articles about said challenge, including this very one?

Yeah. Probably. Those videos are pretty gross, though.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club.