Dangerous stunts that are posted as “viral challenges,” such as the recent “Bird Box Challenge” will be removed from YouTube under its new policy. According to the Google-owned company, videos that cause others to risk danger, or traumatise children, causing “emotional distress,” will no longer be allowed.

YouTube gave examples of videos where the creators make viewers believe they are in danger, or involved in a home invasion and even worse, footage that tells children their parents are dead.

‘Bird Box Challenge’ is only one example of dangerous videos on YouTube

The British Transport Police have recently opened an investigation into footage seen of a teenage vlogger crossing railway tracks while blindfolded. Another example in 2017 featured a YouTuber who played a stunt by cementing his head into a microwave, leading to firefighters spending an hour freeing him.

A spokesperson for YouTube said the platform features many beloved pranks and viral challenges, including the water bottle flip challenge and TV celebrity Jimmy Kimmel and his "Terrible Christmas Presents" prank.

These are considered harmless and funny, but others are not.

The spokesperson went on to say the platform has always had policies that outline what is funny and doesn’t cross the line into being dangerous or harmful. Speaking of YouTube’s Community Guidelines, they said they always prohibit content that could encourage others to participate in dangerous stunts which could lead to serious harm.

In some cases, the platform has demonetised videos to discourage vloggers from trying out the dangerous stunts and pranks.

However, these steps are not working with some YouTubers who believe the stunts can give them viral fame after several attempts have led to tragedy. This includes a 20-year-old Minnesota woman who was jailed last year for six months for shooting her boyfriend dead while trying to prove that a thick book could prevent a high-calibre pistol bullet from hitting him.

The BBC quotes a Buzzfeed report on images alluding to, or depicting bestiality, are still on YouTube’s website, despite the Google company vowing to remove the material in April last year. Many of these videos went viral and YouTubers were monetising the footage.

‘Tide Pod’ and ‘Bird Box’ challenges

There has also been the dangerous "Tide Pod Challenge" and the more recent “Bird Box Challenge,” which sees people performing potentially dangerous stunts while blindfolded. This challenge came after Netflix released the Film “Bird Box,” where Sandra Bullock’s character has to navigate a post-apocalyptic world with her two children while blindfolded to prevent them from seeing a demonic monster.

As reported by the Telegraph, some videos have shown people driving while blindfolded, crossing busy streets or attempting to cook with their vision blocked. Police officials are concerned that copycat stunts could follow the video.

There was also the case of a teenage girl in America who crashed her car while blindfolded. Both vehicles were badly damaged, but fortunately, no one was injured.