The Condom-Snorting Challenge, Tide Pods and Three Other Dangerous Internet Memes

The phenomenon of bored teenagers experimenting with potentially dangerous stuff pre-dates the internet. But if not for the internet, the world wouldn't know about the condom challenge, the latest risky fad going viral.

There are several types of condom challenges, but in a recent one, participants try to inhale unwrapped condoms through their noses, pulling them out through their mouths. If the condom doesn't get sucked into the person's lungs, he or she might 1. avoid being hospitalized, 2. get rewarded with YouTube video views, 3. be entered in the running for a Darwin Award.

In 2016, Vocativ published a detailed history of “Idiotic Internet Challenges.” Here are four from that scholarly list, plus one new one.

The Tide Pod Challenge
The newest of the bunch, this recent challenge involves putting a Tide Pod—a small packet of laundry detergent—in your mouth, breaking it open with your teeth and then spitting it out. While “eating Tide Pods” isn’t technically an accurate description of this challenge—the point isn’t to intentionally consume the whole thing—it’s still dangerous in the case of you accidentally ingesting some.

The companies Tide and YouTube both responded to this challenge by asking customers not to partake and removing Tide Pod Challenge videos from their platform, respectively.

Tide_Pods Tide pods were part of an infamous internet challenge in January 2018. Austin Kirk / Flickr

The Cinnamon Challenge
The Cinnamon Challenge, elegant in its simplicity, involves nothing but swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon. However, cinnamon is so dry that participants, lacking water, huff and gag.

Duct Tape Challenge
The Duct Tape Challenge was popular as an internet meme in 2016 but has existed in several forms at camps and schools. In the internet challenge, you simply tie up a friend in duct tape and see how long it takes him or her to get out. Sounds safe, right?

Wrong. One kid hit his head trying to escape from the duct tape, sustaining an aneurysm and almost dying. 
 

Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge peaked in 2014 and saw enormous success in securing funding for a charity. Each participant was asked to either donate $100 to the ALS Association or pour a bucket of water on his or her head, taking video and posting it on social media. Participants would then tag their friends to do the same.

While this philanthropic campaign definitely isn't on the same level as chewing laundry detergent capsules, it technically is an internet challenge—and Forbes even described it as potentially dangerous.