What is Blue Whale Challenge and why parents should be worried about it?
The death of 14-year-old Manpreet Singh was deemed a suicide. The investigative report and media reports that followed have had parents across the country worried about the safety of their children. The young boy is believed to have been addicted to the Blue Whale game – an online game that offers its users a series of challenges culminating in their death. Young children who are lured to taking up the dares offered by the Blue Whale game are under serious threat of self-harm, reports suggest. Let us take a look at the Blue Whale game and other such online games that may turn dangerous for your children.
What Is The Blue Whale Game?
The Blue Whale Game is a social media supported online game that is believed to have originated in Russia. Once a person agrees to play the game and joins this community, the administrator assigns him or her daily tasks. These tasks or challenges have to be completed over a period of 50 days. Each day a new dare entices the members to perform horrifying tasks including watching horror movies, waking at the middle of the night, and carving on one’s own skin. The last challenge manipulates the now addicted followers to commit suicide and record it on his or her camera.
Does The Game Really Claim Lives?
Surprising as it may seem, the Blue Whale Game challenge has claimed a number of lives across the world. Last year in November, the game first surfaced in Russia in the year 2013 and the first suicide attributed to the challenge was in 2015. Last year in November, 22 year old Filipp Budeikin (Russian) was arrested and sentenced to three years of imprisonment for having enticed 16 teenagers to commit suicide. Many more deaths in different parts of the world have been attributed to this challenge. Manpreet Singh is believed to be the first victim of this horrific game from India.
Why Isn’t Blue Whale Game Banned Then?
The Blue Whale Game is not an application that can be downloaded or even a website that can be accessed. The challenge or dare can only be taken up when the game administrator(s) reach out to a particular individual. They choose particularly vulnerable young boys and girls. By preying on the impressionable young children, the creator and moderators manipulate them into doing their bidding. At first they isolate the children by setting them tasks that do not let them sleep or talk to others. Proof of their accomplishments is also demanded in the form of video recordings and photographs. The creator is believed to have intended to purge the world of “weak” individuals.
How To Protect Our Children?
In these modern times, taking away access to technology seems quite impossible. The best way to keep track of shady and harmful online activities is to communicate openly with children and young adults. Monitoring online activities has also become important these days. This can include restricting time spent online, supervising online activity, and Take the help of a CBSE or school-appointed counselor or a certified therapist to handle issues such as depression and anxiety. The best way to prevent such dangerous activities, however, is to educate young children about the value of life and direct them towards constructive activities. Encouraging children to withstand peer pressure is another important step to be taken. Facebook and Instagram have also taken active measures to discourage any attempts to join the Blue Whale Challenge. When a user searches for keywords related to this game, they are directed to a help page that allows them to share and connect with friends and helplines equipped to deal with the situation. With the death of Manpreet Singh, Indian police and child help services have become more aware of the grave threat posed by these disruptive online games and communities. Approaching them for help is also a good idea.
Is That All?
The Blue Whale Game is not the only threat out in the cyberspace that may prove dangerous to the children of India. There are a number of other such dares or challenges that may induce self-harm or even suicide. The Cutting Challenge, the Fire Challenge, the Salt and Ice Challenge, the Planking Challenge, and the Choking Challenge are only some of the threats that we know about. There could be many more and the only way to raise happy children is to remain actively involved in their activities and in their lives.