Internet Challenges – An Insult to the Intelligence of Mankind?

Over the past couple of years, participating in popular “challenges” has become a part of the lifestyle or culture of some netizens, for instance, the very popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 where participants dump an entire bucket of iced water onto their head and the more recent Bird Box Challenge.

Bird Box Challenge was originated from the 2018 Netflix original movie named Bird Box, which was premiered on the popular web streaming site on the 13th of December last year. The challenge is to reenact what the characters did in the movie in real life situations, which is literally doing your daily life routines blindfolded. In the movie, the characters had to blindfold themselves to protect them from an evil being.

So, a big number of people are now documenting themselves doing their daily life routines, from completing tasks and walking around the house to walking down the street blindfolded. Some even attempted to go into a 24-hour challenge! It is almost unbelievable to even imagine people doing dangerous acts that not only risk their lives but also the lives of others just to take part in such challenges. It had gone so far that Netflix themselves had released a statement on their official Twitter account, warning people that they can end up in the hospital due to the meme.

But despite all the warnings, the Bird Box Challenge craze did not stop. People just kept on participating in the challenge, oblivious to the fact that it can be more dangerous than walking at the very edge of the steep cliff because not only they could kill themselves but worse, they can kill innocent people around them.

Just over a week ago, a 17-year old teenager from Layton, Utah, caused a highway accident because she decided to drive a pickup truck with her beanie covering her eyes. She swerved into the oncoming traffic in the other lane and collided with another vehicle. Although she was unhurt in the accident, there is a very high chance for such reckless actions to cause not only severe and critical injuries, but even death.

The damaged car (right) which was hit by the Utahan teenager who attempted the Bird Box Challenge based on the 2018 Netflix original movie (left).

We have all probably heard of the “In My Feelings” Challenge or Kiki Challenge, where the challenge is to walk out from a moving vehicle (ghost riding) and dance in the oncoming traffic, inspired by some popular 2018 pop song. Unsurprisingly this challenge had caused many serious accidents as well, including an 18-year old teenager in Iowa who fractured her skull, experienced blood clots in her ear and bleeding in her brain.

The question is, what attracts people into doing such useless, dangerous and life-risking acts for no beneficial reason to them or to mankind? Is following a viral trend has become too important to some people? Maybe the whole problem started with low self-worth. It is sad to see how people fall into a situation where they would blindly do frivolous activities for the sake of gaining people’s approval and attention and to look cool in the eyes of others.

This is a part of the rah-rah culture where subscribing to a certain ‘lifestyle’ is considered as a vital part of one’s life. And it is a shame that more and more people choose to embrace this apathetic attitude. Trendy lifestyle is not an integral part of anybody’s life; it can be an optional addition but in this case, it is only a distraction from the actual purpose of our life and a set back to the human civilisation.

What is more important for us as human beings is the ability to make sound judgements and the capability to understand the priorities in life. We are responsible for our actions and we have to understand that we have the responsibility for the future of our nation and the whole world. Therefore we must put a stop to all these nonsense to restore sanity, but alas the world will be invaded by people with mindless souls.

Author: Ahmad Ali Karim

Blogger. Official Ambassador at Muafakat Pendidikan Johor (MPJ). Columnist at Utusan Malaysia. Secretary at Pertubuhan Permuafakatan Pendidikan Malaysia (ME'DIDIK).

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