The Latest 'Teen Challenge' Making the Rounds Has Kids Eating Food Packaging

A boy is seen biting into a banana peel in viral video.
WXYZ-TV

Just when you were finally getting over the last head-scratching viral teen challenge, another one is here to truly horrify you. It's being dubbed the "Shell-On Challenge," and it involves eating food -- plastic packaging and all. 

  • If you just yelled, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" you're not alone. And yet, videos of the insane -- and dangerous -- challenge are sweeping the web.

    The videos are especially popular on Snapchat, Yahoo Lifestyle reports, where the youths are mostly hanging out these days, because Facebook is (apparently) only for us old folk. There's even an entire Snapchat channel devoted to sharing the videos, which I'm almost too disturbed to look at.

    Needless to say, both parents and doctors are concerned. 

    "[Plastic] is not meant to be digested," Dr. Danelle Stabel of Henry Ford Health System told WXYZ-TV, Detroit , "and so it's not going to move through the GI tract really well."

    She adds that the challenge also increases the risk of choking, and that even attempting to eat fruit rinds is dangerous, because there may be pesticide residue if teens don't wash them thoroughly.

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  • In addition to plastic packaging, teens are also attempting to wolf down banana peels, apple cores, and cardboard boxes housing various foods. 

    One word: OUCH.

    Honestly, I'm baffled by all of this. I mean, where is the glory in eating a cardboard box (that will definitely not sit well in your intestines later)? 

    I'm sure there were plenty of idiotic things we used to do when I was back in high school, but they were more of the Mentos-in-a-Coke-bottle variety. You know, harmless science experiment-style challenges that didn't catch on like wildfire, because smartphones (and Facebook) didn't even exist. 

    What simpler times ...

  • On Twitter, social media users have been quick to voice their annoyance with the trend, which many have called "stupid."

    "The shell-on challenge is probably the most disgusting thing I've ever seen," wrote one Twitter user.

    "I've just come across the shell-on challenge on Snapchat," tweeted another, "and it's giving me so much pain watching these people do everything wrong." (SAME.)

  • Still, others are defending it as "funny," and consider it relatively harmless.

    Liam Hamm, a sophomore at McClintock High School in Tempe, Arizona, recently tried his hand at the challenge himself, during which he bit through a plastic bag of carrots while friends filmed him to share on Snapchat.

    Hamm then spoke with Arizona Central about the bizarre challenge, and why it's taking off.

    "It just looks funny, because it's not really a shell but people are calling things shells," he explained. "I guess that is what's funny about it."

    Huh. 

    If there's anything this latest "trend" solidifies, it's the fact that I do not understand teenagers. Like, at all. But hey, I guess this is better (and sort of safer) than eating Tide Pods? Or snorting condoms? And let's not forget the Kiki Challenge, which landed one teen in the hospital last year. Oh yeah, and "car surfing," which is also picking up steam and has killed at least one teen.

    Sigh. Here's hoping Gen Z gets over this one quickly.