Dangerous Dares: The Condom Challenge
We’ve all been taught that the condom is not only a popular contraceptive device but it also doubles as an effective safety device in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. But now, in the latest fad in a series of “Dangerous Dares” being popularized by teens online, it turns out the condom, when used in this ridiculously wrong-headed way, can also prove to bring with it a variety of health risks.
The “condom challenge,” as it’s called, was born as a riff on the Ice Bucket Challenge (where a bucket of cold water was poured over a participant’s head to raise awareness for ALS) with the participants dropping a water-filled condom on their head, though not for charity. Like the “Turkey Slurpee” and “Chubby Bunny,” The Condom Challenge has become a viral Internet sensation.
What is the condom challenge?
The condom challenge requires at least two people: one squats or sits, often on the edge of a bathtub, while the other one, standing in the tub behind them, drops a condom-turned-overfilled-water-balloon onto their head. Because condoms are a lot stronger and more elastic than regular water balloons they don’t break as they hit the seated person; instead the condom, still water-filled, engulfs the person’s head, covering their face—including, most times, their mouth and nose.
Why the condom challenge is dangerous
Remember when mom or dad told you to never put a plastic bag over your head? Well the condom challenge is much worse. It presents the following risks:
Possible dry drowning/inhalation of water
Accidental slip and fall (on the wet bathroom floor/tub)
The Condom Challenge: Why is my teen doing this dare?
This and other popular dares are usually filmed and uploaded to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. (The condom challenge’s Twitter account currently has over 55,000 followers.) The fifteen minutes of fame garnered by posting a video of this nature online is one reason teens take part in these types of activities.
Also, they are at an age when they’re testing their limits. Egged on by peer pressure and fueled by the feeling of youthful invincibility, they don’t stop to think about the real dangers. In many cases, it’s the “good” kids, seeking an alternative to drug or alcohol experimentation, who are participating in these challenges. But neither an increase in popularity, nor the momentary feeling of excitement over trying something seemingly silly, new, or dangerous is worth risking their life.
How can I prevent my kid from trying the condom challenge?
Because you can’t monitor your teen 24-7, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to talk to them about the dangers of the condom challenge. Don’t assume that just because they are a “good kid” or a smart kid that they will not attempt this dangerous dare.
Also, keep in mind that in the days of the Internet, fads like these Dangerous Dares come and go every week. As a parent, it can be challenging to stay on top of what the latest trends are. So when you speak with your kids, don’t just address one single dare, but talk to them about the dangers of dares in general, peer pressure, and doing things that they know are not safe. Encourage them to listen to their gut, or that little voice in the back of their mind that’s telling them, this probably isn’t a good idea. This way you prepare them for whatever the new fad is next week.