Is The Bird Box Challenge The Worst Example Of Viral Stupidity Yet?
Last year began with the immeasurably stupid Tide Pod Challenge making waves across the internet. This was a viral sensation which saw countless teenagers (and some adults) consume detergent in a bid to achieve online fame - despite the fact that they were doing so potentially at the cost of permanent internal damage, and even death.
Now, proving that humanity has learned nothing over the past twelve months, there is another viral challenge which can only be described as an example of Darwinism in action: the Bird Box Challenge. While its potential consequences are arguably less extreme than those of the Tide Pod Challenge, death is still a possibility and people have already been hospitalized because of it.
So what is it? I hear you ask. In short, people are bumping into things for fun.
To see one family do the challenge and experience its disastrous consequences, check out the video below:
The challenge is inspired by Netflix's latest smash hit movie Bird Box, which stars Sandra Bullock battling with an unseen entity which she can only protect herself against with a blindfold. Why? Because looking at the ominous force could cause the person to willingly take their own life.
While the entity is never seen in the movie, its presence is strongly implied with scenes that feature, for example, shadows passing by. When a person's blindfold is removed, their eyes change to a swirling, metallic color.
And while it's all well and good protecting yourself from potential death in a fictional scenario with a blindfold, the reality of wearing one for no reason, is, well, as disastrous as you'd expect - as proven by participants of the Bird Box Challenge filming themselves going about their day to day lives blindfolded and things going very, very wrong.
In response to the challenge, Netflix was forced to urge viewers of the movie not to engage in it, writing on their official Twitter account, "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 [the two unnamed children in the movie] have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes."
The challenge has also come under fire from the visually impaired who, understandably, are upset that able-bodied people have turned their day-to-day reality into a joke.
In an article for The Guardian, Ria Andriani, who grew up almost entirely blind, wrote that the challenge focuses on the shock factor of someone suddenly being unable to see, totally ignoring the fact that blind people have to spend a lot of time acquiring skills and tools to navigate the world without their sight.
But while there's no doubt that the Bird Box Challenge is problematic, perhaps we should take comfort in the knowledge that it's nowhere near as outright dangerous as some of last year's most disturbing "challenges".
In case your memory needs refreshing, there was the Hot Coil Challenge which saw people consciously inflict themselves with severe burns:
However, what arguably sets the Bird Box Challenge apart from these other examples of Natural Selection in action is that it's not entirely being initiated by foolhardy teens and adults, but by many parents who are consciously choosing to blindfold themselves and their children - who, y'know, they're supposed to be keeping out of harm's way.
And then there was the #InMyFeelingsChallenge which inspired thousands of people to throw themselves out of moving vehicles while dancing to Drake's hit song:
But, as ever, there are some people who have used the challenge's popularity to make light of something which is inevitably going to cause medical professionals headaches over the coming weeks:
What do you think of the Bird Box Challenge? Is it worse than the Tide Pod Challenge because the parents participating should know better, or should we just let viral challenges do their thing and cull the stupid among us?