The Bird Box Challenge: Is it Worth the Views?

Bea Parr Since its December 21st release, Netflix’s Bird Box has had record-breaking success. With 45 million views a day for its first seven days (according to Netflix), the post-apocalyptic film broke the company’s first-week viewing record. The movie takes place in a world where deadly creatures have killed the majority of the human population and showcases life both during and after the invasion. Just one glance at these creatures makes people kill themselves, prompting survivors to cover all windows, close all doors, and wear blindfolds whenever they go outside. The film follows Malorie, played by Sandra Bullock, and her two children, creatively named ‘Boy’ and ‘Girl,’ as they embark on a blindfolded journey to a mysterious safe haven. Netflix viewers were seemingly fascinated with the idea of doing focus-oriented actions while blindfolded—much like the characters do in the movie—and, as one does in 2019, took to the Internet to express their fascination. So came the “Bird Box Challenge,” which entails putting on a blindfold, attempting everyday tasks, and taking to social media to post videos of yourself stumbling around. Even people who have not seen the movie have heard of, and likely seen this challenge. Instagram feeds and Snapchat stories seem to be filled with videos of people walking through parking lots, making cereal, and walking down stairs in blindfolds. While few Latin students have partaken in the challenge, many have opinions about it. According to sophomore Charlie Moll, “it’s a stupid idea,” and people feel a need to do it simply “for views, and likes, and being famous.” Fellow Sophomore Emily Hesby agrees: “I think it’s vacuous because people are getting injured. I just saw a video of a little girl running into a wall. I think people do it for the attention but it’s just not worth it.” Almost all posts end with people running into walls, falling flat on their face, or knocking objects over. However, not all viewers who partook in the challenge stayed within the juvenile bounds of accidentally running into a wall: one teenage girl’s fate was far more serious. On Monday, January 7th, a seventeen-year-old in Utah crashed her car while driving blindfolded on the highway. Thankfully no one was injured, but it is terrifying to think about what could have happened. The challenge proved so unsafe that Netflix had no choice but to respond. The company took to Twitter on January 2nd: “Can’t believe [we] 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 had no intention of starting a dangerous internet challenge, but one can’t help but wonder what their role in this challenge is. Sophomore Brendan Meyers points out that “I don’t think that [Netflix] expected the challenge to come out from a horror film. However, I think that if people are getting injured it is their responsibility to say something.” Meyers notes that “[the Bird Box Challenge] is just a fad,” however, with the rise of social media, society seems to have grown more and more susceptible to fads such as these. Brendan explains: “It’s just a culture. It’s just a hierarchy where people who are perceived as really cool do things and others want to do it. I think it comes back to this idea of people wanting to be noticed.” The fact that people are so willing to jeopardize their wellbeing for this challenge begs the question: how much people are willing to risk for internet fame? Does laughing at and reposting these videos perpetuate the issue in an unhealthy way, or is it okay as long as one does not try to recreate the videos themselves? The bottom line is, no one should allow social media to pressure them into doing something that they would not otherwise do; if something feels wrong or dangerous, it is probably not worth the likes and views. As Mr. Kanai, interim math teacher during Mr. Mahoney’s absence, said, “It’s not something that I would do, and I hope that my students wouldn’t do it either.” The only person you can truly control is yourself, so remember to think twice before participating in challenges and fads such as this. ]]>