‘Bird Box Challenge’ sweeps nation, reaches Troy

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Since Netflix released its original horror film Bird Box on December 21, the film has gone viral with “memes” and challenges filling the internet, and Troy is no exception.

The film tells the story of a family that must navigate down a river and through a forest while blindfolded to avoid death at the hands of mysterious creatures.

Before long, people all over the country were tweeting and posting memes based on the movie. Troy linebacker Tron Folsom, for instance, tweeted a photo on Jan. 2 of the lead character wearing a blindfold and added the caption “Our football team waiting on WVU to pick their new coach” (and a crying-laughing emoji).

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Hundreds of thousands of people were making similar posts, substituting in their own witty captions with images or videos from the movie.

Soon after, people began doing the “Bird Box challenge,” posting videos of themselves doing various activities blindfolded, some more dangerous than others.

Ashlyn Franklin, a student at Charles Henderson Middle School, is one of those people that have participated in the challenge, posting a video of her and two friends, Ryann Thomas and Derica Lowery, walking blindfolded through Walmart.

“­We were just being kids and having fun,” Franklin said. “All three of us had seen the movie before and we saw the other challenges going around and we wanted to make ours special but different. It was just something to do with me and my friends.”

The video already has over 25,000 views within a week of being posted online.

“I had an awesome time filming the video,” Franklin said. “I expected it to get no more than 50 to 100 likes – that’s my usual range. I was very excited (to see how many people had liked it). I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We were all very excited and shocked to see what was going on.”

While Franklin and her friends didn’t do anything reckless or dangerous in their video, other people have put themselves in danger. Some have tried imitating the movie more closely by doing the challenge in the woods.

Netflix found the potential for danger serious enough to warn viewers.

“Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE,” the Netflix Twitter account tweeted on Jan. 2. “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.”

“Boy” and “Girl” are the two children in the film.

CHMS counselor Tiana McWhite said she was not aware of Bird Box memes or challenges circulating at the school, but said it is important for everyone to remember to keep safety first.

“It’s not just kids but people in general, if there’s something that’s a fad or a trend on internet they want to be a part of it too,” McWhite said. “Whether it’s the ice bucket challenge or whatever is going on, people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. We just kind of have to be aware of what’s happening on the internet. You can have fun, but you have to make sure they’re safe at the same time.”

Paula Frank, Ashlyn’s mother, said that the videos can be posted in good fun while still being safe.

“I thought it was something cute so I agreed,” Frank said. “I feel like people are doing these regardless of (any warnings). It’s better to do it and it be parent-supported and organized. I specifically allowed her to do it and we picked a time that the store wouldn’t be crowded or bothering other shoppers, to not disrupt the store in any way.”