ATLANTA — Technology has never been more advanced, yet children across the United States are entertaining themselves with something very old-school: partially-filled plastic water bottles.
The craze is called bottle flipping. And it’s driving parents crazy.
The goal is simple: Flip a bottle and make it land upright. But the constant thud-thud-thudding can really grate nerves.
“I’ve heard many legends of many people saying that they started bottle flipping, which I disagree with terribly,” 10-year-old Jhenya DeCarlo said. Jhenya, who lives in metro Atlanta, has been a frequent flipper since mid-summer.
“Obviously, like most things, people found it YouTube,” added his 11-year-old brother, Nicholas DeCarlo.
The fad gained popularity after a YouTube video of talent show contestant Michael Senatore flipping a water bottle in Charlotte, North Carolina. That video now has more than 6 million views. Thousands of similar videos have been uploaded since.
“The first time you flip it, and it lands you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just did something really amazing,’ Jhenya explains.
But, as his brother Nicholas, explained, “Eventually one bottle flip turns into three, which turns into six, 12, 100 and before you know it you’re spending an hour on your kitchen table, flipping a bottle.”
Jhenya said his record of consecutive flips stands at 35. His older brother’s is 36.
‘It’s pretty harmless’
Though the repetitive sound initially annoyed their mother, Valerie Huff DeCarlo, she eventually came around.
“At first it drove me up the wall. It was the most annoying thing ever,” she said. “But then I started thinking, ‘It’s not a video game. They do it outside. … It’s pretty harmless considering some of the other things kids do.”
However, she did have to make rules for the boys in her household: no bottle flipping inside, no bottle flipping until homework is done and no wasting expensive bottled water.
It’ll fade soon … maybe
“It just drives me crazy,” the boys’ dad, Derrick DeCarlo, said. He coaches their baseball team and frequently sees his players bottle flipping in the dugout.
“It’s amazing how you can have 10 kids all sitting there flipping bottles completely consumed by it and unaware of anything going on around them,” Derrick DeCarlo said.
After posting about of her sons’ newfound hobby on Facebook, Valerie DeCarlo discovered she wasn’t the only parent dealing with the craze. Even teachers chimed in expressing their wishes for the flipping to end.
“I mean, I do feel it will die out sometime during Halloween,” Nicholas says. “But until then, so far so good.”
His little brother disagrees. He gives the craze “about two more years.”