girl snorting a condom

Snorting condoms, yes indeed, that is what teens are up to today. The risks they will take to get ‘likes’ online is getting more and more insane. It doesn’t seem to matter how smart or popular a teenager is or what kind of family they come from, many are putting themselves at risk, taking part in senseless challenges and dares that are floating around YouTube and social media.

It is the popular thing to do: to put salt and ice on your body, take a snapshot and post the burns. Experiencing how it feels to have someone choke you out is not a new game, but today’s kids record and post everything, creating disturbing images for future employers and college admissions staff to view. 

Today’s teens are desperate for popularity and the gauge on that, unfortunately, is directly linked to “likes”.

What better way to get a lot of views that to do something totally risky and crazy?

If you google “dangerous teen trends”, countless videos will appear on your screen as well as more than 450,000 other results that you will see in your feed. I encourage you to check them out. The result of your search is sure to shock any caring parent.

Here are 5 popular challenges kids are taking, and they could end up causing serious harm or death to your child:

  1. Choking game: Millennial parents might remember the choking game from the ‘80s and ‘90s, but the infiltration of Facebook has caused it to spread again like wildfire. The game uses limited strangulation to reduce oxygen to the brain, causing the participant to faint. Also called knock-out, space monkey or the pass out game, the choking game can lead to brain damage, seizures, and head trauma, and about 6% of kids are doing it.
  2. Salt and ice: How dangerous can two simple items that everyone has in their home really be? Actually, the answer is very dangerous. To complete the challenge, the participant must pour salt in their hand, add some ice cubes and see how long they can hold the salt and ice together in a closed fist. Some kids put the combination on other parts of their bodies and whoever can keep the burn going the longest wins. 2nd and 3rd-degree burns are common consequences of this challenge.
  3. Cinnamon challenge: The cinnamon challenge is another teen fixation that has been circulating on YouTube for years. It requires the player to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon. Doctors say that cinnamon is caustic and that the challenge can cause throat and respiratory issues, including choking and a potential collapsed lung.
  4. Vodka eyeballing: Instead of drinking alcohol, some teens are ingesting their alcohol through their eyeballs. Taking a shot of vodka or other hard alcohol to your eyeball can cause irritation, swelling, cornea scarring and blindness. Girls are also soaking tampons in vodka and inserting them, claiming this to be a no-calorie way to get drunk.
  5. Condom snorting: If your teen takes the condom challenge, he’s going to snort a condom through his nose and pull it out of his mouth. Girls are even trying it and the risk of choking on this challenge is pretty obvious.

Clearly, snorting a condom can’t be enjoyable. So why are teens engaging in such dangerous and useless challenges?

There are two main reasons: invincible thinking and number of likes generated by trying these ridiculous challenges.

The teen brain is not fully developed, and so the area responsible for reasoning and decision making simply is not ready to contemplate such challenges appropriately. Because of this, teenagers just don’t have the critical thinking skills to process long-term consequences or to assess risk appropriately.

Peer pressure among tweens and teens is intense and all teens are susceptible to the allure and thrill of social media popularity.

As parents, you need to be aware of these types of challenges so that you can have conversations with your kids about the potential risks and consequences of trying them. Until your child hits her early 20’s, you need to stay vigilant.

Social Judo, the most advanced parenting tool available, will send you alerts about the very things that concern you about your child. Increase your parental awareness and response time while decreasing unnecessary risks and dangers to your child.

Social Judo helps smart parents become smarter parents every day.


Andrea Difilippo is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, nationally recognized parenting expert and Chief Parenting Officer with Social Judo.