Tech & The Web

YouTube Bans Dangerous Challenge Videos


After a ‘Bird Box Challenge’ video in which a teenage girl crashed a car while driving blindfolded, YouTube is banning dangerous challenge videos.

YouTube has had enough of so-called dangerous challenge videos and is pulling the plug.

The final straw, Deadline reports, was a viral video inspired by the Netflix film The Bird Box. In that movie, characters wear blindfolds to avoid seeing a mysterious evil entity that stalks them. The “Bird Box Challenge” took various forms but had kids of all ages attempting to perform various everyday tasks while blindfolded.

The problem came when a teen crashed her car, colliding into a pickup truck, while driving blindfolded.

You wouldn’t think someone even seriously consider such a stunt.

Of course, you wouldn’t think people would consider taking part in the “Tide Pod Challenge,” in which people would hold the detergent pod in their mouth until it dissolved, releasing poisonous detergent and bleach into their mouths, either. But that was last year’s big challenge video trend.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, updated its Frequently Asked Questions section. The new FAQ says this:

We’ve updated our external guidelines to make it clear that challenges like the Tide pod challenge or the Fire challenge, that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances, have no place on YouTube. 

We’ve made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury. We don’t allow pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger – for example, a home invasion prank or a drive-by shooting prank. We also don’t allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life.

Of course, it’s not so much a lack of common sense that drives these video posts.

YouTube users who manage to accomplish the feat of producing a video that goes viral receive much more than attention.

Remember the video called “Charlie Bit My Finger” in which a baby bites the finger of his older brother? In 2012, Guardian reported that the video had earned its poster the equivalent of nearly $130,000.

That’s probably not a typical payout, but even so, that’s a lot of temptation for YouTube users to try to attract viewers.

Obviously, if YouTube is able to pay that much, they’re making a good deal more in advertising for such video clips.

So in taking the stand against these dangerous challenge videos, they literally are putting their money where their mouth is.

You have to applaud that.

Even while you weep for the intelligence of the world that forced such a change.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.