Teenagers Are Failing The Tide Pod Challenge

Your kids are idiots.

Alright, just the teenage kids.

Fine, some of you have very smart teenagers. But the rest of you? Your kids are idiots.

Specifically, those kids who are taking the Tide Pod Challenge.

That's where kids, mostly teenagers are challenging each other to eat a Tide Laundry Pod and upload a video of it to social media, including the inevitable choking and vomiting.

These are our children. The children who, when we brought them home for the first time, we laid them gently down in their cribs, and stared at them as they slept. We gazed upon them, imagining their bright and amazing future.

We whispered, "My darling child, you can be anything you want: a scientist, an artist, or an engineer. You'll cure diseases and build bridges. You could even be the President. If you wanted to. I believe in you."

Well, in the first two weeks of 2018, 39 of these future scientists stuck a laundry detergent pod in their mouth because the Internet dared them to.

While it doesn't appear that any of the young idiots in question have died, many of them have been hospitalized with vomiting, breathing difficulties, and loss of consciousness.

Of course, the media and overly concerned parents have a shared history of blowing things out of proportion, accepting urban legends as truth, and creating a panic over a rumor. Which means every news outlet is running a story about the Tide Pod Challenge. Which means parents are being forced to have "the talk" with their kids.

MOM: (straddles a chair backwards) Honey, I want to have a discush with you, as you young people say.

KID: No one has said "discush" since 2012.

MOM: Are you dropping pods?

KID: I'm sorry, what?

MOM: You know, toking Tide.

KID: Mom, I have no idea what you're talking about.

MOM: Tide Pods! Are you taking Tide Pods? Who taught you how to do this stuff?

KID: You, alright? I learned it from watching you do laundry!

It's like the 80s when parents were freaked out about razor blades in apples (an urban legend), Satanic Panic (a disproven hoax), or back masking on rock and roll albums (a bunch of anti-rock nonsense).

Having been burned by urban legends before, some people say the challenge is just a hoax and that no one is actually that stupid. Clearly, these people never used Facebook in 2016.

I would love to believe that no one is actually that dumb. I'd really love for this to just be one more urban legend freak out by the PTA and Bible study groups.

Except poison control officials say otherwise. The American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a press release on January 16 saying this is a growing trend. There were 39 cases of "intentional exposure" to Tide Pods among teenagers in 2016, and 53 cases in 2017. And now, 39 cases in the first 15 days of 2018.

In other words, it took 2018's teenagers two weeks to match a year's worth of stupid from 2016's teenagers.

Procter & Gamble is so worried, they issued a statement saying they're "deeply concerned about conversations related to intentional and improper use of liquid laundry pacs."

The company's vigorous condemnation had the same effect as a strongly-worded letter from the United Nations, which means we should receive a similar response after someone opens a chain of Tide Pod sushi restaurants.

The makers of Tide Pods even released a PSA video featuring New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski. Because no one has more credibility than a professional athlete with his own line of nutritional supplements called Testo Blast.

Look, teenagers do a lot of dumb stuff. Several years ago, it was the Gallon Challenge, where someone would try to chug a gallon of milk in 60 minutes before they puked. Then it was the Cinnamon Challenge, where people would try to eat a teaspoon of cinnamon in under 60 seconds. (One genius was hospitalized for four days.) So no one should be too surprised at this latest Darwinian dredging of the gene pool.

"I believe the children are our future," Whitney Houston sang in 1985. "Teach them well and let them lead the way."

That may be fine for other countries whose children are mastering math and science, learning to speak three, four, and five languages, and creating some amazing inventions that make the world a better place. But in this country, we have to tell kids not to eat laundry detergent.

So forgive me if I don't think too highly of today's teenagers and their crazy self-destructive video challenges. Despite what Whitney Houston said, I wouldn't let these kids lead me up an escalator. They'll probably try to eat that too.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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