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No, teenagers are not snorting condoms now

All those YouTube videos are from five years ago, so calm down mum

Teens have been doing some pretty amazing things recently – not only have they brought worldwide attention to the fight for gun control in the US, but they also single-handedly organised the inspirational March For Our Lives.

But, unsurprisingly, the press can't resist a good story to take them down a peg or two. Enter the so-called ‘condom snorting challenge’.

“Life is hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid” opens a Men's Health article declaring the challenge a “new potentially deadly trend”. Before I tell you everything wrong with the previous statement, here’s a little context: YouTube videos have surfaced of teens inhaling condoms through their noses then plucking them – I’ll admit disgustingly – out from their mouths.

Yes these videos exist, and yes, they’re gross. But most of the footage on YouTube is from 2013, not this year – so, if you’ve been keeping up, you’ll realise that hey, this ‘trend’ isn’t new. It isn’t even a trend! This ‘trend’ is another attempt from the media to undermine and discredit young people.

Alt-right mouthpiece Paul Joseph Watson used a shoddy news story about the ‘trend’ to support his argument that the voting age shouldn't be lowered to 16. Donald Trump Jr. also threw his two cents in, mocking the idea of 16-year-olds voting, and adding: “There’s a hold my beer meme in here somewhere… go to it people.” Not only is this short-sighted, but he couldn’t even come up with his own meme. Maybe he could hire a teen to help?

It’s unclear why these videos have surfaced again, but it’s likely a follow-on from the infamous ‘Tide Pod challenge’, in which teens reportedly couldn’t resist the soapy delicacy that is liquid laundry detergent and just had to eat it. This led to poison control experts issuing warnings about how consumption of Tide Pods could lead to, well, death. But this was another online storm over nothing: in reality, it remained highly unlikely that many teens were actually eating soap. 

We’re living in a sad time if whenever teenagers are proactively making change in the world, adults will try anything to put them down. We’ve already had American politicians trolling school shooting survivors and spreading fake news about them, and now the media is digging up five-year-old videos to make sure the world doesn’t forget just how dumb young people are.

Given that teens are currently leading the biggest conversation around gun control in years, we must not forget the power young people have and what we are capable of achieving (these teens are already changing the world). An article on American news site News 4 San Antonio states: “Some local parents are attending an informative class on dangerous trends. They’re learning new ways to keep their children safe.”

How about attending an informative class on gun control? Your kids are running it.