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‘It’s a little worrisome’: ‘Bird Box Challenge’ raising concerns in Regina’s blind community
Published Friday, January 4, 2019 2:10PM CST
Netflix movie “Bird Box” had a record-setting debut and its popularity has sparked memes — and a social media challenge.
People are taking the “Bird Box Challenge” online, blindfolding themselves completing everyday tasks and documenting their experiences.
The trend is raising some concerns for Regina’s blind community.
“It’s a little worrisome,” said Ashley Nemeth. “When you blindfold yourself and you’re just focused on the fact you can’t see the things around you, you aren’t focused on the visual cues around you.”
Nemeth was born with partial vision loss and has lost her sight completely over time. She says the challenge doesn’t give people a real look at what it’s like to live with vision loss.
“It’s really creating a place where people think these things aren’t possible,” she said.
The challenge has people driving escalators and driving while blindfolded — and it’s leading to some unsafe moments.
It even prompted a tweet from Netflix warning people not to try the challenge at home.
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
That sentiment is echoed by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. The group says any blind simulations should be done safely, and within context.
“The unfortunate thing is that it’s sending the message that people who are blind or are partially sighted just aren’t able to do certain things, when the reality is that they can do all the same things you and I can,” said Marlene Yaqub with the CNIB. “It’s just doing them differently.”
“You need the skills to be able to do it,” Nemeth said. “I don’t just walk out the door with no white cane, no guide dog, no skills whatsoever.”
Instead of just another internet challenge, Nemeth hopes the Bird Box Challenge will bring awareness to the blind community and the reality of living with vision loss.