The Tide Pod Challenge: How a teenage self-harm fad ought to be handled

by Overwhelmed

If you haven’t heard, the Tide Pod Challenge is all the rage with teens and young adults. Unfortunately, many of them have bitten into, ingested, and accidentally inhaled the liquid laundry detergent packets, leading to serious medical consequences. Several young people have even died.

Tide bottleWhy has the challenge become so popular? Well, this age group is not known for risk aversion or for considering the consequences of their actions. And many of them have a social media presence and strive to accrue “likes” and gain new followers. So when #TidePodChallenge started trending, some of them just couldn’t resist. They recorded themselves biting into laundry pods and uploaded it to various social media platforms. This in turn inspired more to join in the dare.

I’m sure 4thWaveNow readers can appreciate the parallels between the Tide Pod Challenge and Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.  The same age group is involved. Both are spread by social contagion, which is greatly amplified by social media. And both cause medical harms.

Dr. Susan Bradley, longtime expert in childhood gender dysphoria, as well as autism, had this to say about Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) in a recent article in the Canadian journal Post-Millennial:

In my own practice, I have seen a good many young women displaying the phenomenon known as “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” or ROGD, which overwhelmingly affects girls.

Typically, the ROGD teenage girls I see have, wittingly or not, begun to experience homoerotic feelings about which they are conflicted. They tend to be socially isolated, and somewhere “on the spectrum.” They may have histories of eating or self-harm disorders.

They have found companions with the same attributes on Internet sites, which diminishes such adolescents’ sadness over their social isolation, but which can also lead to foreclosure of reflective thinking about their own feelings and situation. Some of these girls are depressed, afflicted with suicidal ideation. Because of the initial euphoria they experience in finally “belonging” to a well-defined kinship group, they tend to embrace the idea of transitioning wholeheartedly as the solution to their other problems.

I’ve been impressed with the actions being taken to stem the Tide Pod Challenge (which I list below). It gives me hope that when the serious ramifications of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria are eventually acknowledged, steps will be taken to curb it as well.

So, how have responsible adults acted to reduce the number of young people being harmed by the Tide Pod Challenge?

  1. Many journalists are reporting about it. The public is being informed of this trend, including the serious medical implications—seizures, chemical burns to the eyes which can cause temporary blindness, fluid in the lungs, respiratory arrest, coma, death.
  1. YouTube (owned by Google) has removed videos that show people taking bites of laundry detergent packets. According to a spokesperson: “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”
  1. Facebook has followed suit, deleting content off its platforms (including Instagram), stating “we don’t allow the promotion of self-injury and will remove it when we’re made aware of it.”
  1. Procter and Gamble, which owns Tide, is trying to turn the tide (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of this social contagion. According to a company representative, “We are deeply concerned about conversations related to intentional and improper use of liquid laundry pacs and have been working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content that is not consistent with their policies.” Tide has even enlisted a celebrity, NFL star Rob Gronkowski, to appear in a Twitter video informing people that Tide Pods are for washing, not eating. It has already garnered millions of views.

tide podsThis is exactly how a socially contagious craze that is impacting young people SHOULD be handled. I dream of more journalists honestly covering Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria and its associated often-irreversible medical consequences. I wish pharmaceutical companies would speak up and condemn the inappropriate, non-FDA approved, off-label use of their products. I hope social media platforms will restrict content that glorifies tweens, teens, and young adults altering their bodies via binding, cross-sex hormones, double mastectomies, and genital surgeries. It could easily be interpreted that cheering on medical transition already qualifies as a violation of YouTube’s policy of encouraging “dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm” and Facebook’s “promotion of self-injury.”

But unfortunately, the transgender rights movement is overshadowing this epidemic. I think the majority of the public is totally unaware that kids are being influenced, especially by social media, to believe that they are transgender. They become convinced their bodies are wrong and in need of drastic life-long medical interventions. The adults who are aware of this contagion are often afraid to raise concerns because they will be labeled transphobic (and potentially lose their jobs). Of course, this seriously dampens the opportunity for rational discussion on this topic. Mainstream journalists, particularly in the United States, have been extremely hesitant to cover it.

I have no doubt that Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria will eventually become widely known as a disastrous medical fad. Steps will be taken to curtail the damages. It’s just a question of when. In the meantime, parents of ROGD kids and their allies will keep speaking out. They’re doing what they can to reduce the number of young people who may eventually regret how easy it was to medically transition.

Unlike the Tide Pod Challenge, the spread of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria has gone unchecked for several years now. Thousands of young people and their families have been impacted. It has gotten so out of control that serious efforts need to be undertaken to counteract the nearly insurmountable amounts of misinformation, and help control this social contagion. This effort needs to be more than parents speaking out. Medical organizations need to review the science (not rely on trans activist ideology), reevaluate their stance on pediatric medical transition, and rein in rogue practitioners. If we have any chance at stemming this, it will have to be done on a grand scale from multiple fronts.

14 thoughts on “The Tide Pod Challenge: How a teenage self-harm fad ought to be handled

  1. I asked my teenage daughter if she knows anyone who has done the Tide Pod Challenge, and she got offended that I even asked–surely I couldn’t possibly think she might know anyone THAT stupid. Sadly, there’s no way she is going to get through adolescence without knowing at least one person who will succumb to the peer pressure of irreversible gender transition. (I get that teens will quite normally do silly and stupid things, but hopefully not irreversibly harmful silly and stupid things.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sometimes I feel it’s more likely the ‘Internet Social Virus’ and the media tend to make a “thing” out of a thing, that isn’t really a thing at all. They say “shocking, incredible, enraged, crowds, viral” and many other words improperly to make headlines. So, when I see ANY story saying “new shocking fad” – I assume it’s a slow social media blog day…and soon it will be a ‘new shocking fad’ for a very small gullible group. I have 3 teenagers and not a single one has heard of anybody involved with such a stupid mythical challenge. …and trust me, they would know.


  2. What this article points out, again, is that for some unknown, or certainly unarticulated, reason, “gender is different.” Throw everything we know about developmental psychology out the window. Throw everything we know about the scientific method out the window. Throw everything we know about medical ethics, good parenting, appropriate boundaries, and common sense out the window, because gender is different. Why? It is because it is, an utter tautology that can’t be argued or certainly reasoned with.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, teenagers will do the darndest things.
    There are over 97,000 “journeys” on You Tube that document the romance and excitement of injecting with testosterone.
    Many involve teenagers.
    These girls will receive much more adulation than they ever would living as ordinary girls. Ordinary does get followers.

    This was one of the 97,000 + You Tube vlogs for FTM.
    There are scores of scholarly articles and theses published about the brave world of FTM journeys on You Tube and how “queer girls” use social media.
    Most of the researchers do not find it alarming that this is driven by social media. They study it as though they have encountered a previously unknown tribe. Some of the researchers have an affinity for this tribe.
    So, a social movement, an ideology, a social contagion among teenage girls, receives a code of 302.85 via the DSM-5.
    Yes, some of these girls do have dysphoria. It can get pretty complicated as to what is a dysphoria proclamation and what is dysphoria; what are the drivers behind the dysphoria? These girls deserve compassion and wise counsel.
    The last thing they need is a rubber-stamp to get a quickie testosterone prescription.
    Many will receive just that.

    You Tube should remove these vlogs
    The media needs to cover this social contagion.

    Liked by 5 people

    • If social media did not exist, if youtube went poof tomorrow, tumblr, deviantart?

      I can absolutely guarantee you that there would be a massive drop in the number of females identifying as transmen.

      Here’s a little quiz — how many of the parents with trans-identified natal female children got to that state after heavy consumption of FTM content on social media? Because I’m gonna venture a guess that it’s a very very high percentage, vs the “classic” presentation of a female transsexual (someone who maintained they were the opposite sex from a very young age).

      Yet the “experts” act like this is all arising in some kind of vacuum. It flies in the face of everything that is known about developmental psychology.

      What the heck. Let us let these “mature, Gillick-competent” kids drink freely, drive cars at age 12, have sex with adults, own guns. If they’re competent, there’s no basis for any of those rules.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Puzzled, I think that if tumblr/YouTube/deviantart had gone away in, say, 2012, there would be today no higher rates of transition then there were in 2008. But right now, the social contagion has extended to the real world. The rates of transitioning would go down, but not to pre social media levels. (And there’d still be Web 1.0 stuff like Hudson’s FTM guide.)

        Of course, since that won’t happen it’d be hard to accurately predict the results, but this is why I maintain that merely taking away your daughter’s tumblr access will not stop the transition train, unless she is homeschooled or would otherwise have difficulty meeting other ‘trans boys’ in real life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep. My daughter’s university just taught her how to inject T last week, even though she can’t legally buy an alcoholic drink for two more years. It’s insane.


  4. More child abuse: Gender surgeon Marci Bowers told Jazz Jennings to figure out how to get orgasms and his grandma asks him about sex partners.

    THIS BOY WAS STERILIZED AND CASTRATED AND THE ADULTS AROUND HIM ARE PUSHING HIM INTO HAVING SEX although it was THEM who made sure that he will never have sexual feelings like normal people in the first place.

    I guess this problem is common in transitioned boys who never went trough puberty but Jazz is the only boy who has to share his problems with the world thanks to abusive, greedy parents. Note how he thinks he HAS to have a orgasms. Hell even sick fuck Marci Bowers told him to get one.

    Imagine how many other boys he told the same shit instead of telling them THE TRUTH. Sorry “girls” – no orgasms for you because your parents didn’t want you to go through puberty. Nope, instead he lets them deal with their sexually dysfuntional bodies alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You said , it is a war on woman promoting ftm teens. Planned parenthood offers these hormones, no therapist required. They see are girls an a revenue stream, they don’t care AT ALL


    • Oh, I think a good many of them have been convinced that they are doing a noble thing. Seriously. They have been indoctrinated in the idea that trans identified kids are some sort of “super gay” and that this is a human rights crusade, in which there can only be one response for good people. Only one way to be on the “right side of history.” Or else the kids will suicide. Yeah?

      The fact that it’s all a crock that entails significant physical and psychological risk doesn’t seem to register.

      So — I think a fair number of boots-on-the-ground folks think they’re doing the right thing, just like a lot of those people who were pro-lobotomy thought they were, or the satanic panic people, the recovered memories people, the parents who got their raging kids antipsychotic drugs like risperdal (which gave the kids diabetes) because they’d been told by experts that their kids had “child bipolar.”

      Now, do I think that ppl like Norman Spack and Johanna Olson-Kennedy are making a career out of this due to a heavy dose of “trailblazer” ego? Yeah, I do. But your local Planned Parenthood just thinks they’re being progressive. Most likely. They care, it’s just — their idea of caring is misguided, in a big way. Ergo the wicked “unsupportive” parents have to stand in the gap, or at least try, until the kids’ brains mature enough that they have a snowball’s chance in hell of actually understanding what they’re doing to themselves.


  6. Thank you, Overwhelmed, for this well-written and informative article.

    It gives us hope that something can be done to protect our children from the those who are using them as pawns to promote their own political agenda, and their opportunistic, unethical collaborators in the medical profession who are making a tidy profit off our children’s pain and confusion.

    Your article also provides us with an effective game plan on how to get the word out and turn the (sorry, there’s no better word for it) tide.

    So, how are we doing in comparison?

    1. We are mainly ignored by the mainstream media. If they do bother to pay attention to us, it is to paint us as transphobic bigots who just can’t accept that our children are transgender.

    At least, there are a few notable exceptions. Here in Canada, we have Barbara Kay, Jon Kay and Alex Pierson, who are not afraid to speak out, and are willing to take the heat from the trans-activists and their media mouthpieces.

    2. YouTube, Google and Facebook don’t have a problem with posting and promoting transitioning information and content. But they have been known to censor, demonitize and demote (in search results) anything they perceive as transphobic.

    3. We don’t have videos of football stars, but we do have some brave, authoritative professionals, like Dr. Oren Amitay, who are fast becoming Internet stars for being willing to stand up to the bullies in their profession and voice their concerns.

    Can we be, at least, a little bit hopeful?

    Liked by 1 person


    “The parents didn’t want the teen, a 17-year-old who identifies as male, to undergo hormone treatment and refused to call him by his chosen name, triggering suicidal feelings, according to court testimony. The parents wanted custody in order to make medical decisions for the teen and prohibit thetreatment that his medical team had recommended.”

    “The parents’ attorney had argued that the child was not “even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time.” A county prosecuting attorney argued that the parents wanted to stop the treatment because it violated their religious beliefs.”

    I hope they have funds to appeal. This case should be followed closely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s