The Condom Challenge: Social Media Causes People do to Dumb Things

So I was looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to blog about today and I saw this headline: “The Viral condom-snorting challenge is a dangerous idea – here’s why you should never put a condom up your nose”. Naturally, this headline leads to two thoughts.

1) how come I’ve never heard of this condom snorting challenge? Am I not cool enough anymore to hear about the new viral challenges?

And more importantly

2) Why in God’s name are people doing this…..

So first of all this challenge has apparently been around for a while but has been trending recently through social media. For those of you who don’t know what it is, myself included, it is when you stick a condom up one of your nostrils and inhale really hard so that it hopefully re-emerges into your mouth.


Here is a link to a much less viewed one to show you how this works:

Now I assume that most of you reading this are thinking, this is insane why would anyone ever do this? I agree. Its challenges like this that make me question if social media is good for anything if it allows challenges like this to go viral. This challenge reminded me of the very recent tide pod challenge where kids were attempting to consume tide pods, which if it wasn’t obvious is very very dangerous. This leads me to wonder, how is it possible that these kinds of extremely dangerous challenges become so viral when you can clearly see that they are very dangerous?


One reason that Stephen Enriquez offers up is that teenagers will do most anything these days for likes, views, and subscribers. In an age where social media fame is very sought after, teenagers are willing to do these very dangerous challenges. The design of challenges like the condom challenge and the tide pod challenge is designed to get attention online. This isn’t a new phenomenon, we have been doing the cinnamon challenge and the milk gallon challenge for a long time now.


Another reason is that when kids see social media influencers doing challenges like these, they feel more inclined to do them. I couldn’t find any major bloggers or influencers that supported this challenge but I was talking to my little sister and found out that there are a few smaller influencers that have posted videos on their channels.

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This is one I found on youtube that is on the older side, (2 years ago) but has 1 million views. The amount of views this video got is pretty crazy considering all they did was snort a condom up their nose. When teenagers see videos like these from influencers getting upwards of 1 million views, they are encouraged to do the challenge in hopes that they will also get some social media fame. It’s sad though because challenges like this one are very dangerous and really only give kids a moment of fame. There is no talent or skill behind the challenge, the fame just comes from the challenge going viral for a small moment in time. The amount kids are willing to risk to become social media famous has become a bit ridiculous.


The desire for social media fame is definitely something that seems more attainable than regular fame, since as I mentioned earlier it doesn’t necessarily take any skill or talent. Lots of bloggers and social influencers just had a hobby that they were interested in and began to blog about that, gaining lots of followers and becoming social media famous. The danger of this is that teenagers see these success stories and figure that they can do the same thing. The seemingly approachable nature of becoming internet famous leads to dumb stunts like this to attempt to grow their fanbases. You wouldn’t see a movie star or a sports star doing a challenge like this, knowing the horrible health risks.

This hopefully shows one of the many clear downsides to social media. The desire for views and likes brings young teenager and many times adults to do really stupid things. We have seen this before in America’s funniest home videos, but now with social media, it is even bigger and in my opinion much more dangerous.

I would love to hear your opinions on this crazy challenge. Do you think parents and doctors will be able to convince kids to stop doing this challenge? How much harm do you think has to be publicized before teenagers get the hint about how dangerous this was? Can you think of a challenge when we were teens that were this dangerous? What awful challenge will come next?

Some Sources and further readings:



  1. Lucy Wilson · ·

    Funny post, Kyle! I totally agree with point you’re making. This immediately reminds me of the phrase “do it for the Insta.” While it directly references Instagram, I think it’s relatable to all social media platforms and sites. People are encouraged to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do because they know that people will see them.

    The flip side to this argument is that people might also do good things because social media exists. For example, someone might be more inclined to donate to a charity on GoFundMe because others can more readily see their name on the screen. While this person’s intentions might not be the best, the visibility that social media provides helps another person to raise money than he might have for his cause.

  2. nescrivag · ·

    Wow – I had no idea people would actually do something like this. Now that I think back, when I was in high school the cinnamon challenge was a pretty big thing and I remember watching videos of people swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon and coughing their lungs up. With the cinnamon challenge; however, it is not that easy to know the side effects but the condom challenge seems like something that is obviously risky for your health.
    This also reminds me of some Vine videos that I have seen (or some videos in memes) that also seem pretty dangerous (and painful sometimes!). For example, I remember a Vine of a girl in a shopping cart who is pushed down a hill and hits a wall and just flies out of the cart. It is funny to watch, yeah, but you also think why would someone try that just to make other people laugh?
    I’ve found myself looking at memes and online videos a lot more lately just to pass the time and have a good laugh, which partly explains why people are uploading more and more ‘funny’ online content. I guess people just have a really hard time determining when to draw the line between ‘funny’ and ‘dangerously funny’.

  3. markdimeglio · ·

    Tyler, funny and thoughtful post. I think you do a good job highlighting a major downside of social media. When I saw the headline I immediately thought of the Tide Pod Challenge which you mentioned above. Couldn’t believe that other incredibly stupid challenges are being pursued by kids. Im not even sure what is dumber: consuming detergent or snorting contraception?

    I think there could be a couple factors that might influence this. One could be Groupthink in that when doing stuff is portrayed to be socially acceptable by so many people it becomes “normalized”. Another reason could be the weird cost/benefit analysis one could do when deciding to do dumb stuff online. For example, if doing something truly idiotic, like lets say snorting a condom, could get you 1M views and 100,000 news subs on YouTube, thats a really strong incentive to do stupid things. Eventually someone will take that opportunity I think.

    Those are just my guesses. Nice article again.

  4. profgarbusm · ·

    Hey Tyler,
    Loved how you used something as goofy as the condom challenge in order to illustrate how both toxic and idiotic people can be when it comes to social media. I think the main (and really only) factor for creating these various “challenges” is entertainment. People enjoy the attention of being watched, and people enjoy watching people do stupid things even if doing such a thing puts them at risk. In high school I remember tons of people doing the cinnamon challenge, and every single person that did it recorded it for the world to see. I don’t think I know one person who did it without recording it. This idea of attention and entertainment combines for a powerful force – particularly with young people who are constantly trying to define and differentiate themselves from the crowd.

    Would recommend the ice and salt challenge to see how REALLY bad people can get.
    Great post!

  5. kseniapekhtere1 · ·

    Very interesting post. I have never heard about this challenge but I am ming-blown that some people are doing it. I guess it makes sense that is mostly teenagers who are willing to do these stupid things for the likes and views. But the question is how can society stop that? I feel like social media became such a prevalent part of our lives it will be hard to change that. Even though adults might not be doing crazy things like sticking a condom done your nose, I feel like we still do too many things for social media. I am personally guilty of that. Often when I doing something somewhat cool I feel the need to document it to make sure everyone sees what I am doing. And that definitely takes away from enjoying the moment. Yet even though I am perfectly aware of the issue I keep doing it. However, I feel like people tend to use and care less social media as they age so hopefully at least these will continue and we won’t be a society obsessed with likes for our entire lives.

  6. oliverhowe14 · ·

    Apparently I am one of the only people I know (I even asked around when it went viral) that had heard of this “challenge” when it first started coming out a while back. But thankfully I’m not the only one that thinks that this is one of the most absurd things that people have started to do to become viral for all of a week until this trend dies down.
    I have been following these challenges ever since I saw the Fire Challenge, where people would cover themselves in a flammable liquid and then light themselves on fire. It’s crazy to see what kids nowadays will do to have that tiny glimpse into the world of being famous. I hope for their sakes that they realize how ridiculous they’re being and they think about these challenges before actually doing them.

  7. This is just a wee bit insane, but it’s certainly not the first example of things like this. I remember the Cinnamon Challenge from a few years ago (that was also dangerous).

  8. NeroC1337 · ·

    Another reason I think that dangerous could go viral is that people couldn’t perceive the danger doing challenges like this. Like you said, many actual challengers are kids and teenagers, and little do they know about the danger of doing this. Also, seeing someone else doing it just makes it less dangerous doing it. The mindset of a challenge is that it’s hard to do but definitely do-able. I think that the reason some challenge go viral and some don’t is that how dangerous people could perceive the action is. Well, for me riding rollercoaster is just as dangerous as doing challenge like this if not more. So I think social media, and influencers should be more apparent about how dangerous actions like this are.

  9. realjakejordon · ·

    Entertaining post, Tyler! I know I’m only 21, but I felt like my dad reading this post, just a voice on a loop in my head going “Why on Earth are kids doing this!?” I feel like I have done plenty of dumb stuff in my day, but not very many where I see absolutely no upside to doing them, as with the “Condom Challenge”.

    I think this “15 minutes of fame” people seek has deeper problems than kids inflicting harm on themselves. I recently saw on my feed a video of a man beating a dog. I was disturbed and I wondered how it ended up on my feed in the first place. There was a big argument going on in the thread over whether to share the video or not, because they wanted to find the person doing this, or, on the descending side, to stop giving the person the attention they seek. I think that is an interesting debate. I’m personally of the opinion that we shouldn’t give these twisted people any sort of a platform in the first place. I wonder what other peoples thoughts are on this.

  10. mqzhang · ·

    I couldn’t believe this was actually a trend when I first heard about it, yet here we are, debating the ramifications of snorting a condom. I think the internet has allowed people to achieve fame/notoriety much easier since the potential audience is infinitely larger than that of a crowd you could gather in a school cafeteria. Many folks love to be noticed, and may go about poor methods to obtain the attention of their peers. I recall similar situations when I was in elementary school of kids throwing geese droppings or worms at others’ faces. And who could forget that famous scene in A Christmas Story where a kid stuck his tongue on a frozen metal pole on a dare?

    The Jackass films and TV series have been popular for a reason: we love to see a spectacle, and the internet has enabled us all to have a front-row seat to the strangest, weirdest, most outlandish stunts that could ever come to mind. The connected age not only allows us to cater to such demands, but also gives us novel ideas and challenges that we would have never thought of otherwise. Though some viral challenges such as the Ice Bucket Challenge creates a harmless scene for a good cause, I think we can definitely chalk up this particular challenge as one arising from stupidity and a dangerous “one-up” mentality.

  11. phanauer1 · ·

    As has been mentioned before, people do stupid things like this for the sake of gaining attention online from friends and strangers. Many of us remember the cinnamon challenge, which definitely wasn’t healthy, but was far safer than the condom challenge or the tide pod challenge. I think the reason for this is that we have been so over-exposed over the past few years and there are so many extreme things that we are able to see online, that nothing shocks us anymore. Because of this, people are forced to do truly crazy and unhealthy things in order to actually gain attention. In a way, that “you crazy kids” kind of reaction that @realjakejordon mentioned, might be what they’re going for. I really think that the “one-up” mentality that @mqzhang mentioned plays a big part and not only are people trying to top each other within each of the challenges, the challenges are getting stupider and more dangerous just for shock value in the hopes of going viral. While I don’t see this changing any time soon, hopefully we see a rise of things like the Ice Bucket Challenge, where these viral challenges are helping people without actually harming anyone.

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