2013 In Review: What Teens Had To Deal with In 2013

Teen trends have always seems wacky, silly and sometimes downright scary for parents. Adolescence is a time to explore new things and gain independence from parental authority, so teens readily embrace fads and trends that appear to help them on their way. However, while most trends are benign, there are some that can actually be dangerous or harmful to teens.

Here is a list of harmful teen trends and fads that were popular in 2013:

Hand Sanitizer:

Teens drink hand sanitizer, which has large amounts of ethyl alcohol, to get a buzz, similar to cough syrup or mouthwash a few years ago.

Vampire Bites:

Inspired by the media vampire rage over the past few years, teens are actually drawing blood from a girlfriend or boyfriend’s neck after a few love nibbles and drinking blood as a sign of devotion.

Stunts for Online Viewing:

Whether it’s video of vandalizing, daredevil stunts, practical jokes or other wacky event, teens frequently video their activities and post them online, even though some of them are either mean, destructive or downright dangerous.


When teens take to social media to shame, manipulate, embarrass or harass another, it’s cyberbullying and many states have enacted laws to make the activity criminal.

Salt and Ice Challenge:

Teens love to engage in strength and stamina contests, and the salt and ice challenge requires teens to hold a mixture of salt and ice for as long as possible before the burning and pain is too much to bear and the skin receives second degree cold burns.

Cinnamon Challenge:

Another stamina challenge is to eat a tablespoon of powdered cinnamon then try to swallow it without drinking, while other teens laugh at the victim’s choking, gagging and irritated eyes.

Car Stunts:

From surfing on the top of a moving car to riding in the trunk to avoid detection, when teens and cars combine for stunts, it quickly becomes dangerous, harmful and in some cases, fatal.

Vodka Eyeballing:

To avoid trouble with parents who might smell alcohol on the breath, many teens are eyeballing vodka, or pouring a shot over the eyeball where blood vessels carry it into the bloodstream.

Choking High:

Teens looking for a free high cut off circulation around the neck using a belt, sock or their hands, then enjoy the sensation as the blood rushes back, however the game can lead to passing out, brain damage and sometimes even death.


Sending explicit photos of themselves or others can get teens into a lot of trouble as more states are increasing in awareness of this growing trend and linking it with distributing child pornography.

Knockout Game:

This new activity involves teens trying to knock out an unsuspecting person with a single punch, and it has already resulted in several deaths and multiple hospitalizations across the country.  


Parents who are concerned that their impressionable teen may be tempted to participate in some of these growing trends should take the time to communicate about the consequences of the actions. 

Parents should stress the dangers involved and give teens some ideas of how to get out of situations where their friends are pressuring them to join in. Once teens understand that the long-term effects— many of them harmful—are not worth it, it just may give them the courage to resist.


Tyler Jacobson is a freelance writer who writes primarily about family dynamics in a digital world, such as how to talk to your teen about online safety.