Dubai: A new challenge has gone viral and for all the wrong reasons. #BirdBoxChallenge in which people blindfolded themselves for an entire day, has become a new public safety hazard.
Netflix, the hosting platform of the film Bird Box, has warned against the risks, with people choosing to perform risky activities, such as driving and chopping vegetable, blindfolded.
Bird Box, a psychological horror-thriller starring Sandra Bullock, showed the protagonists blindfolding themselves to avoid capture by monsters that preyed through sight.
The viral #BirdBoxChallenge had netizens go about an entire 24-hour period blindfolded. Some users did it for shorter time periods with more dangerous tasks such as driving. However, most videos were funny takes on people bumping into walls or trying to eat blindfolded.
Netflix put out a request on Twitter, asking social media users to refrain from the challenge as it posed a high risk of injury.
The official Netflix page on Twitter, @netflix, posted: “Cannot believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We do not know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl [names of characters in the movie] have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”
The flip side on social media
Several social media users expressed disdain for the challenge and others found it unsympathatic to people of determination.
Social media user @samanthav16 tweeted: “Umm, does anyone else find the #BirdBoxChallenge a little insensitive to the millions of people who are literally blind and are actually able to live normal lives without vision?”
Tweep @WarPizza wrote: “You all know blind people exist and function in society, right? #BirdBoxChallenge”
Social media user @JiltedZ tweeted “PLEASE DO NOT DO THE #BirdBoxChallenge! Donate to a charity or something else. Just do NOT try this [silly] meme.”
Previous viral challenges that have also posed a risk include the #KikiChallenge or #InMyFeelingsChallenge. The challenge picked up across the world, including the UAE, forcing Dubai Police to issue a statement, calling it a fineable offence.
The challenge instigated a conversation on how far social media users would go for online popularity. Part of this conversation was the number of ‘killer-selfies’ in recent years. A 2018 global study published in the US-based Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, found that an estimated 259 selfie-related deaths occurred between 2011 and 2017.