There’s a new social media challenge surfacing in thousands of videos across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other sites. It’s the #BirdBoxChallenge, and — like other social challenges before it — it could be a lot of fun, or very dangerous.
We see these challenges appear seemingly out of nowhere every few months — and sometimes every few weeks. Last year, when Drake’s single “In My Feelings” came out, people started taking the #KikiChallenge, dancing on camera whenever the song started playing. Like a lot of challenges, it started innocently and safely enough, but then people began escalating the challenge. Instead of dancing in their living rooms or offices, they started jumping out of moving cars and dancing along the side of the road. At least one teen was hospitalized with a fractured skull during the height of the challenge’s popularity.
It looks like the Bird Box Challenge may follow a similar trajectory as the Kiki Challenge, with many participants creating relatively safe (if somewhat clumsy) videos. Unfortunately, though, we have already seen some people getting hurt or putting themselves and others in danger as they create more daring versions of the challenge in the hopes of going viral.
Bird Box? What Are You Talking About?
If you have a Netflix account, chances are good that you’ve already seen Bird Box, the latest and most successful Netflix original production, starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. And, even if you haven’t seen the film itself, you’ve probably seen at least a few memes popping up on your social media feeds. Here’s a bit of context to help you understand all those images of Sandra Bullock and two children wearing blindfolds (no spoilers).
In this psychological thriller, Bullock’s character Malorie strives to save herself and two children in a post-apocalyptic world. In this world, simply opening your eyes and looking outside could kill you, and Malorie must traverse a lot of dangerous territory, including rowing a boat down a long, winding river — all without peeking out from her blindfold.
While the film received mixed reviews from critics, audiences have flocked to Netflix to watch it, with Netflix reporting a record-breaking 45 million views. So, what can be so dangerous about a popular film that puts an interesting new twist on the horror genre? Well, the film itself may not pose a risk to your health, but a new social media challenge associated with it just might.
The Challenge: Fun or Dangerous?
After watching Bullock and other characters make their way through the world of Bird Box without their sight, thousands of people around the country are taking on the #BirdBoxChallenge. In this new social media challenge, people are blindfolding themselves and attempting to do everyday activities, like closing the blinds on a window, running from the kitchen to the living room, or (and we hope this video was a fake!) driving.
In response to all the Bird Box Challenge videos surfacing on Instagram, Twitter, and other sites, Netflix tweeted, asking people to show a little restraint as they take the challenge.
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 US (@netflix) January 2, 2019
On January 2, less than two weeks after the release of the film, the popular streaming media service posted, “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 isn’t asking people to completely refrain from taking the Bird Box Challenge altogether. After all, some people’s challenge videos have been fun, creative, and safe. In fact, just a couple of months ago, we did our own blindfolded challenge here at The Champion Firm. If you want a laugh at our expense, check out how well (or poorly) we did at identifying Halloween candy without the gift of sight.
While a blind taste test is a pretty innocuous challenge, it’s not hard to imagine how the Bird Box Challenge could quickly get out of hand. If you’re considering getting on the bandwagon, we have to agree with Netflix — keep safety first!
A Personal Injury Perspective: Liability in Accidents Caused by Social Challenges
If you’re still thinking about taking the risk, let’s take a look at this challenge, and other social media challenges like it, from a personal injury perspective. If someone is injured while taking a challenge like this, they likely won’t have any recourse under the law. It’s hard to prove someone else’s negligence if you slip and fall, trip, or walk into something while wearing a blindfold.
However, if you were to cause an accident, you might be liable for someone else’s injuries. For example, let’s consider the video of the man pulling his hat down over his eyes while driving. Again, we hope that this Bird Box Challenge video was a fake, but if it wasn’t, this driver could be in serious trouble. Distracted driving is bad enough without a blindfold. Willfully covering your eyes while operating a vehicle would almost assuredly put you at fault in almost any accident.
Conversely, you might be going about your day, and you might be injured by someone participating in the challenge. In this case, you could quite possibly have a personal injury case. Whether you were on the road, at work, or somewhere else, if someone puts you in danger through their own negligence, then they may owe you for any losses or damages that you suffer.
As always, we want to encourage everyone to be as safe as possible. If you’re thinking about doing the challenge, find a funny variant that won’t put anyone in harm’s way. You may want to designate a non-blindfolded friend to watch out for obstructions and to help avoid accidents and injuries. And, when in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Your video may go viral, but would it be worth it if you or someone else got badly injured? Remember, accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, even when you’re eyes are wide open. So stay safe out there!