Bored teenage boys in America have come up with a new -- and frankly pretty awful -- way to while away the hours. They play a game called "sack tapping" involving a kick to the testicles.
Not surprisingly the new trend to test each others' endurance that is currently sweeping through schools has a particular attraction to bullies.
But experts are warning it's one game that can have serious medical consequences. Not only that but it is no doubt incredibly painful which begs the question, why do they do it?
The New York Daily News reported last month that David Gibbons, a fourteen-year-old, had to have his right testicle amputated after he was "sack tapped" in the school hallway.
According to the paper his mother, Christy Gibbons, says: "This may be called a game, but it's not a game. It's dangerous and it needs to stop. I've seen the pain he was in. I've seen what he went through every day, and it just breaks my heart, and I don't want any other child to have to go through this."
Her views are echoed by Dr. Steve Hodges, assistant professor of paediatric urology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, who tells Fox News that it is probably not a good idea to go around kicking other guys in the testicles.
"They're not particularly hardy organs," Hodges tells Fox News. "It doesn't take much force to compress them and cause rupture."
Apparently, this sort of behaviour is not new among boys and a similar game was featured in the first season of South Park, when Cartman challenged another boy to a game of "Roshambo".
"First, I kick you in the nuts as hard as I can, then you kick me in the nuts as hard as you can, and we keep going back and forth until somebody falls," Cartman tells the boy.
But why would teenagers want to do this? Is it just another form of bullying? Catherine Bradshaw, a developmental psychologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, believes this bizarre phenomenon is down to peer pressure.
"Even if the kids are voluntarily participating in it, there's probably a lot of peer pressure," she tells Fox News. "Kids hear about things, whether it's on the Web or through other friends, and they try them out. By no means does that minimize the impact. It's clearly a form of physical abuse."
What do you think - a form of bullying or just boys mucking around?
Source (ParentDish US)