~~By Daniel Lanong
With the world advancing to a new era, an age where information is available just a click away and with technology taking over the wheels of development, life seems far simpler than what we have known 20-30 years ago.
While the virtual cloud turns into a chat-room for millions of people, it has also been blamed for other notorious activities – the term of which has been defined a ‘cyber-crime’.
One cannot deny the facts that the technological era has turned the world into one big global village, brought people together under one platform – social media platforms, money transactions made easier and faster but like the saying goes – every coin has two sides, the advent of technology has compromised our right to privacy, real-time relationship and worse of all – it has created a platform where our ability to fathom the basic meaning of ‘life’ can be manipulated and destroyed – and one such example is the ‘Deadly Blue Whale Challenge’.
Here is what you need to know about the Blue Whale Challenge:
>> The game is based on the relationship between the challengers and the person responsible for carrying out the administration of a website administrators. The term “Blue Whale” comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is linked to suicide.
>> Blue Whale began in Russia in 2013 with “F57”, one of the names of the so-called “death group” of the VKontakte social network and allegedly caused its first suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a former psychology student who was expelled from his university, claimed that he invented the game.
>> It involves a level of duties given by the administrators that participant must complete, usually one per day, some of which involve the mutilation of oneself, especially as a symptom of mental or emotional disturbance.
>> The list of tasks is to be completed in 50 days and it includes waking up at 4:20 A.M., climbing a crane, carving a specific phrase on the person’s own hand or arm, doing secret tasks, poking a needle to the arm or leg, standing on a bridge and roof, listening to music, and watching videos sent to the challengers by the administrator.
>> Some tasks can be given in advance, while others can be passed on by the administrators on that day, the last task being suicide.
We can’t figure out how the game can manipulate someone to the extent that one is ready to hurt oneself and ultimately commit suicide.
It was reported that the game’s administrator targets young boys and girls between the age group of 12-25 years old or so it seems as suicide victims reported due to the game appears to be between that age-group.
Many youngsters and teenagers that are experimenting with daredevil stunts and dangerous practices are considered ‘cool’. Hence, some players join the Blue Whale Challenge as a show of strength, and for the adventure to prove that they are too strong to be broken.
According to Wikipedia, the deadly online game has claimed the lives of young people from 19 countries including India. As reported, 7 people between the age-group 14-22 were reported to be victims of this deadly game in India of which 5 of them committed suicide while two others were rescued at the nick of time.
The latest case was reported in Uttar Pradesh on August 27 when a 13 year old class VI student in the town of Maudaha, Hamirpur district hung himself reportedly after playing the Blue Whale game. According to the police, the boy had his father’s phone in which the game, that directs the player to commit suicide after 50 challenges, was on, when the dead body was taken.
This is a dangerous trend and young people are at risk of having their life being manipulated by a person sitting in some corner of the world. Now if we have to tackle this problem, we need to start from level 1 – that is our family.
>> Parents should work on building a positive vibe within the family and work towards eliminating the communication gap which is quite apparent in this generation. This is necessary so as to ensure that the children do not interpret their parents’ caring act as ‘disbelief, false and pretentious’.
>> Parents should also refrain from giving in to emotional blackmail. Children too need to be counselled to be able to handle their emotions better. An adolescent or a teenager is likely to be easily influenced.
>> Parents should be open to discussions with kids, to discuss their problems, to create an enabling environment for their children to speak their heart. They need to spend quality non-gadget time with their children.
>> School is our second home and therefore it is very important for the school authorities to keep a close watch on the student’s day to day activity, their suspicious behaviours and the like. We also need counsellors in schools.
Young people are easy preys and feeding on their emotions, a psychotic person finds it easier to target and manipulate kids of this age group. Now let’s not stop the bug at the Blue Whale Game, let us think ahead because there will always be something or the other which can trigger depression or suicide andit will not end with the end of the Blue Whale Challenge.
Recently, the Indian Government has asked social media and internet giants like Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, Instagram among others to get rid of the links to the ‘Blue Whale’ suicide game to ensure safety of people on the internet, especially of children.
It was also reported that since the game is not a software which can be traced in Google Play store, it becomes difficult to trace the source and hence experts claimed that one has to take down the internet to end this game.
So, what options are we left with – except keeping our will strong and of course to stay alive while advising others to do so as well! It’s is time we take on this virtual devil and help save a life by spreading the word and reminding each one of us that ‘Life is precious’ and it is not worth throwing it away for the sake of one game.
(The opinion expressed in the article belongs to the writer and TNT-The Northeast Today may not subscribe to the same)