In the U.S. Children are taught that this type of behavior is wrong.
Despite that fact they still participate in hazing and other initiation rituals once they reach college level or even in adulthood, so I guess that either you’re not doing a good job at educating them LOL, or the need to belonging is stronger than a little humiliation they might experience while being an initiate and perceive the ritual as innocent horseplay regardless of what any outsider may or may not think of it. Keep in mind that most of it is innocent in nature though not always perceived like that by the outsiders.
How long has this tradition been going on for?
For as long as mankind has been around and started to form distinct groups that set them apart from other groups, we all like to be a part of something special. Whatever the organization, the nationality, the religion or anything else you can think of, the ritual of becoming a full pledge member of and being associated with that organization is and will always be with us in whatever shape or form.
It's actually extremely rare and has been so for centuries.
Not in orthodox community. Even the NY city tried to pass a law against it for health reasons and for decades now but each time unsuccessful in their endeavor as obviously some influential element is stopping this effort. Despite numerous case studies present by the health department in support of such a law there’s a large enough element blocking it despite your claim to the contrary. As for people trying to paint it as something that it obviously is not how is it any different then what this thread itself is trying to achieve?
Denizens of the internet sometimes like to trot it out though, for reasons of their own.
This thread being is a perfect example of such trolling.