Thanks to the internet, those fads spread like wild fire, putting more and more teens in danger.
Remember The Cinnamon Challenge? If you have no idea what I am talking about, it’s a “game” where you are supposed to put a spoon full of ground cinnamon in your mouth and attempt to swallow it without anything else to help wash it down.
The challenge is pretty much impossible.
There are plenty of YouTube videos demonstrating the challenge with the results usually ending with someone gagging, vomiting, coughing and/or choking.
Why this may sound stupid to us with fully developed brains, thousands of teens have taken this challenge with some ending up in the hospital.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 222 cases of abuse or misuse of cinnamon last year with the numbers steadily increasing.
Trying the cinnamon challenge can be damaging to the lungs with at least one teen being hospitalized with a collapsed lung when she attempted the challenge.
A newer, potentially even more dangerous fad is the The Condom Challenge.
In The Condom Challenge teens open up a condom, snort it through their nostrils, and then attempt to pull it out of their mouths.
You can see the health hazards in this.
Condoms can easily get lodged in the windpipe, causing a person to have trouble breathing or not be able to get any oxygen at all. I haven’t heard of any deaths yet, but as this fad spreads, it’s most likely only a matter of time.
Teens do a lot of stupid things when they get bored and are around or influenced by other teens, including doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and now apparently trying to swallow ground cinnamon and inhaling condoms.
Teens who have better things to do, like go to parks, participate in recreational activities, school sports and/or clubs are less likely to find themselves bored enough or interested enough to try the new fads.
Teens think that they are invincible and nothing will go wrong, but they do go wrong, often very quickly and un-expectantly.
It’s important that teens realize that they are their own person and they don’t have to follow other people in their real lives or in their online lives to be popular or cool.
As parents, caregivers and adults, we have to be aware of the fads our teens are facing and the hazards that go along with them. What may sound stupid, idiotic and dangerous to us most likely sounds harmless, challenging and fun to them.
Teens will be teens and they will be reckless and risk takers. It’s all a part of their developmental stage. Still, our jobs are to educate them and keep them safe the best we can so they can live long enough to become adults and reflect back on how stupid they were when they were teens, just as most of us do.