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The condom problem is not the newest teen craze. Here is the way it went viral anyway.

A small group of San Antonio-area mother and father and lecturers have been alarmed by what they noticed throughout a prese...

 

A small group of San Antonio-area mother and father and lecturers have been alarmed by what they noticed throughout a presentation at a neighborhood faculty in late March. It was the “condom problem,” a harmful YouTube pattern the place teenagers snorted condoms up their nostril — and pulled them out of their mouths.

For the mother and father within the room at that San Antonio faculty, it was a disturbing wake-up name, a glimpse on the worst case state of affairs for what their teenagers could be as much as on-line. And that is what it is meant to be. The second is a part of “Dares, Medication, and Harmful Teen Tendencies,” an adults-only workshop supplied by the regional workplace for Texas’s Training Service Middle.

Educators there have given the identical presentation to native faculties for years. However one thing was totally different about this explicit presentation: a neighborhood information crew was sitting in for a narrative. And shortly, it would not be simply these San Antonio mother and father who have been alarmed. Terrifying headlines since that presentation have stated the problem was “each dad or mum’s worst nightmare,” and “the newest harmful social media pattern” and “trending” amongst teenagers. The “condom problem” was the subsequent “Tide Pod problem,” the memes went. Man, youngsters as of late are positive dumb.

There’s only one small drawback, nevertheless: These headlines have been mistaken. The one factor viral in regards to the condom problem proper now could be the ethical panic in regards to the concept of teenagers doing the condom problem. In a matter of days, phrase unfold from a single native information report back to a small military of native and nationwide publications the world over, all warning a couple of problem that, in 2018, barely exists.

The “condom problem” was briefly widespread round 2013, when a teen snorting a condom up her nostril as a Taylor Swift tune performed went viral. However as some information stories famous on the time, the problem itself dates again to at the least 2007. U.S. poison management facilities have recognized only one single case of condom inhalation previously 5 years, in line with a Washington Put up report Monday. YouTube searches for “condom problem” and “condom snorting problem” flip up few precise movies of teenagers making an attempt it. Those that do floor are sometimes a number of years outdated, and the remainder of the search outcomes are both movies about how the condom problem is dangerous, or movies of YouTubers making an attempt a separate “condom problem” from a few years in the past that does not contain inhaling a contraceptive.

Calm down about the condom challenge, grown-ups

“The phrase ‘pattern’ is crucial side of those tales,” stated Alex Kasprak, a reporter at Snopes, a fact-checking website that rated the “condom problem” panic as “largely false.” Tales just like the “condom problem” panic usually start with a kernel of reality – youngsters actually have achieved this problem on YouTube earlier than, and it truly is harmful. However Kasprak is usually surprised by “how rapidly somebody will slap the phrase ‘pattern’ on one thing.”

The condom problem’s trending panic stems immediately from that San Antonio workshop. An area information story in regards to the workshop closely featured the “condom problem” portion of state training specialist Stephen Enriquez’s presentation, and the potential risks it represented. In an interview with Fox 29 in San Antonio, Enriquez stated, “Today our teenagers are doing every little thing for likes, views and subscribers. As graphic as it’s, we have now to indicate mother and father as a result of teenagers are logging on in search of challenges and recreating them.”

However a spokesperson for the group that employs Enriquez to offer these displays appeared confused by the sudden curiosity. “We have been sharing about this and different ‘challenges’ for years now,” stated Mayra T. de Hoyos, a spokesperson for the Texas Training Service Middle in Area 20, “and do not know the way it gained such reputation only in the near past.”

De Hoyos added that their group is not saying the “condom problem” — or another hazard lined within the presentation — is definitely occurring in San Antonio faculties. They do not even gather information on that. “The main focus of our displays just isn’t about this problem however moderately a mix of points that teenagers ‘might’ at one level be uncovered to,” they stated.

Though the Fox 29 story didn’t say that the “condom problem” was trending, the story quickly turned the idea for a number of hyperbolic articles. A pair examples: a Newsweek aggregation, “THE CONDOM CHALLENGE IS GETTING TEENS TO SNORT OPEN RUBBERS UP THEIR NOSE” helped to amplify the concept that this problem was the subsequent large factor for dumb teenagers to do on-line. One other story, from the Sacramento Bee, cites “educators” as claiming that the “condom problem” has “lately gone viral once more.” The one educator the article truly quotes is Enriquez, who did not say this problem had gone viral lately.

Snorting condoms is harmful, in fact. Nevertheless it’s solely trending proper now Kasprak notes, “as a result of ‘youngsters are so dumb’ is an actual widespread factor to speak about.” Take the Tide Pod Problem, which turned so widespread as a supply of concern in January that it’s now a preferred anti-teen meme. Though it’s true that some teenagers did chunk into Tide Pods to attempt to go viral, a Washington Put up report famous that detergent pod poison instances within the U.S. have been truly trending downwards.

Dumb developments about dumb teenagers, whether or not true or not, “performs into every little thing that the web takes up like crack,” Kasprak stated.