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Perhaps they should have seen it coming.

Netflix's new thriller Bird Box is a film about a mother trying to get her children to safety after an apocalypse caused by supernatural beings.

The task is made more difficult, however, because she and the children – named Boy and Girl – must be blindfolded to protect themselves.

If they look at the film's villains they will be driven mad and eventually kill themselves.

The Bird Box Challenge was created, involving people trying to perform everyday tasks while blindfolded before posting videos of their attempts on social media.

At best there is embarrassment but at worst there could be danger, which prompted Netflix to tweet a warning on Wednesday.

Cant believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We dont 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

The company wrote: "Can't believe I have to say this but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE.

More from Netflix

"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 said the film was watched by 45 million subscriber accounts in its first week, the biggest opening for any movie in its nearly 12-year streaming history.

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