While some teens are already activists still living under their parents roofs, others are out getting wrecked on vodka tampons and trying to get high off of special mp3 files, at least according to alarmist local news segments and terrifying web articles warning parents of the next dangerous teen trends.
Most of these reports are written in the name of children's safety and proliferated because everyone loves speculation and feeling in the know about the teens—but do any of these reports ever ask teens what's going on? For Teen Week, Broadly interviewed real-life teenagers about these alleged dangerous trends to see if they actually occur.
One of the teens I have on retainer is 19-year-old Nabil. He's a student at CU Boulder, where he's also an RA—so I expect him to have seen lots of crazy stuff. He's also asked to be described as a future billionaire and sex symbol, so here I am respecting his wishes. The other teens I interviewed are Kaitlyn (a former camper of mine) and Deirdre: Kaitlyn is 16 and lives in the suburbs of St. Louis, while Deirdre is 17 and lives in Virginia.
Vodka Eyeballing and Butt Chugging
The first supposed teen trend that I ask Nabil about is called "vodka eyeballing." It's pretty self-explanatory: adults believe that teenagers are using some kind of innovative contraption to pour grain alcohol into their eyeballs to get drunk. Nabil says he has heard of this. "One of my residents told me about it, he said one of his friends tried it," he said.
I was very surprised to hear this, as I thought I'd be debunking terrifying teen trends—not confirming them. Future billionaire Nabil picked up on my apprehension and started to explain that his school is a "huge frat university" and that they "have a ton of asuh dudes" before shocking me with another bomb: "That same dude started talking about butt chugging."
Literally everyone I know just drinks and smokes weed.
For those who aren't frat bros familiar with dangerous drinking trends, butt chugging is when you take a funnel and start chugging alcohol through your butt, which then enters your system faster than traditional consumption.
Alarmed, I asked Kaitlyn to verify the reality of these heinous acts. She quickly tells me that she doesn't know anyone who has vodka eyeballed or butt chugged. However, she does know girls that have vodka tamponed, which is when one soaks a tampon in vodka and then inserts it in an orifice to get drunk. Kaitlyn describes those who've vodka tamponed as "the super extra ones" at her school, but is certain that this alarming teen trend really does occur.
The next trend is i-dosing, which is just a fancy name for MP3 drugs, where teens supposedly download tunes crazy enough that listening to them gets you high. This is definitely not a real thing according to Nabil, Deirdre, and Kaitlyn. "Literally everyone I know just drinks and smokes weed," said Kaitlyn, ignoring the fact that she just told me she knows girls who spike their tampons.
Another alleged trend among teens is taking synthetic drugs known as bath salts. Nabil asked, "Wasn't that a thing in Florida a couple years ago?" before adding that he doesn't know anybody who does that. "It's not just exclusively teenagers, I think it's just a Florida thing, for white people."
Sex roulette is a supposed trend heavily covered by media publications last summer. It's when a group of teenagers participate in an unprotected sex orgy but the catch is that one of the members is HIV positive, hence the "roulette" in its name.
After hearing about sex roulette, Deirdre responded very calmly, "I've actually heard of this," further proving that I have no clue about teens and their trends. Thankfully, Deirdre then told me that she does not know any teens that would be stupid enough to do this, adding a wistful, "I hope," at the end.
Salt and Ice
Salt and ice is a trend wherein one puts salt on her skin and then rubs an ice cube on it until the skin burns off. Kaitlyn tells me that her friend Taylor, also a former camper of mine, does salt and ice pretty regularly. I'm not too surprised, as Taylor once took bars of soap and buried them underneath the camp's bathrooms at midnight, just for kicks. However, Kaitlyn reassures me that salt and ice is the extent of Taylor's teenage rebellion.
It's very stupid because you could easily choke and die but hey you gotta do it for the views.
Trunking is when teens pile into each others cars until it's so full that some unlucky kids have to go and sit in the trunk. Trunking is something I did in high school and something I try to do in cabs now, but just didn't know it had an official name. "It's called not having enough room," said Nabil.
The last trend, in which one is challenged to eat an entire spoonful of cinnamon, is something I learn to be very real but a little outdated. "Three of four years ago a lot of kids would try the challenge," said Nabil. "It's very stupid because you could easily choke and die but hey you gotta do it for the views."