The Netflix original movie “Bird Box” has left many viewers blind to common sense as they attempt the “Bird Box Challenge.”
One of the trademarks of the movie is how Sandra Bullock's character, Malorie, must navigate the world without seeing, covering her eyes with blindfolds to protect herself and her two children, Boy and Girl, from invisible monsters. However, this hasn’t translated well with real-world activities.
The “Bird Box Challenge” has people attempting activities while blindfolded. Most of the activities done are harmless fun, such as putting on makeup or walking around the house, where the worst injuries would be a sore face from accidentally walking into a wall. However, the challenge has also taken some participants to the extreme.
“I think it’s funny when you’re doing the challenge in the safety of your own home or a safe environment,” geography and accounting junior Debrielle Patee-Merrill said. “But when you go out on roadways and public areas, it’s not funny anymore. You’re putting yourself and others in danger.”
Some versions of the challenge have become dangerous enough for Netflix to tweet at its users to not participate.
“Can’t believe I have to say this, but: please do not hurt yourselves with this ‘Bird Box Challenge.’ We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes,” Netflix tweeted Jan. 2.
It’s no surprise Netflix has dipped its toes into creating original content. Shows like “Black Mirror” and “Arrested Development” have amassed large followings, but “Bird Box” is one of the streaming services’ movies to take the internet by storm.
According to Market Watch, the Netflix movie gathered more than 45 million viewers within the first week, which is roughly one-third of the streaming service’s viewers.
“I love Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson,” elementary education senior Garrett Niemeier said. “I love ‘Bird Box’ and thought it was really good. It was more suspenseful than actually scary. What is scary is people putting themselves in dangerous situations.”
Like most things to rise to internet fame, the show spawned several memes which then led to the challenge. Ultimately some of the challenge videos got too intense, as a 17-year-old girl in Layton, Utah, crashed her car in traffic. There were no serious injuries.
Police Lt. Travis Lyman was one of the first responders to the crash in Layton.
“Apparently, as a part of this ‘Bird Box Challenge,’ the driver used her beanie to pull over her eyes as she was driving on Layton Parkway,”’ Lyman said to CNN. “And she ended up losing control of her car and skidded into the westbound lanes of Layton Parkway and hit another car and ended up hitting a light pole as well.”
Lyman later went to Twitter and called the result “predictable.”
The challenge originally started on YouTube, much like the Tide Pod Challenge of 2018, with people hoping for their 15 minutes of fame. The recent spike in dangerous pranks and challenges lead the popular website to create a new section in its guidelines dedicated to addressing them.
“YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, but we need to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous,” according to Youtube’s new policy. “We’ve made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury.”
It appears YouTube is taking its stance seriously as moderators quickly took down a Jake Paul video of him driving in and walking across a busy Los Angeles street while blindfolded as part of a 24-hour version of the “Bird Box Challenge.”
“I think YouTube should be more responsible for the content on their website,” Niemeier said. “People get hurt doing stupid challenges like this.”
Though “Bird Box” is not the first, and most certainly not the last, movie to inspire memes and challenges, it has put lives at risk.