How to protect your kids from Blue Whale – Amid rising danger from Blue Whale challenge that has spread its tentacles across the country, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a detailed advisory, asking parents to monitor their children’s online and social media activity to ensure they do not engage themselves with the deadly game.
The Ministry has advised parents and guardians to install a good cyber/mobile parenting software which would help them monitor online activities of their children. It has also advised parents to seek immediate professional help if they fear their children were at risk.
Earlier, taking note of online Blue Whale Challenge game that has led to suicide among children, the Ministry had directed Facebook, Google India, WhatsApp, Yahoo India, Microsoft India, Instagram and other internet giants to remove the links of the “killer” online game.
Recently, a 19-year-old college student from Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district, who hung himself, wrote in her suicide note that once “you enter Blue Whale challenge you can’t exit.” According to the media reports, a girl in Mangalore recently contemplated suicide on being harassed via this app, but was saved after counselling.
The Ministry in its advisory also asked them not to talk about the game “unless there is reason to believe your child already knows of or has played the game” as discussing it may “increase the chance that your child will search for it on their own”.
The advisory issued by the Ministry said, “Blue Whale Challenge game is clearly abetment to suicide. It is understood through various online reports that it is shared among secretive groups on social media networks. The creators seek out their players/victims who are in depression and send them an invitation to join.
The basis of the challenge is that an anonymous group administrator, otherwise known as “the curator,” hands out 50 tasks to that must be completed, documented and posted during a 50-day period. Players of the challenge can’t stop playing once they’ve started; they are blackmailed and cyber bullied into completing the game. “
It has suggested that guardians be attentive if they notice unusually secretive behaviour, mostly related to their online activity of their child. “Check in with your child, ask how things are going. Ask if there have been things stressing them, or anything that has them worried. If your child is talking about any level of distress, do not hesitate to ask them about changes in mental health”.
“Unless there is reason to believe your child already knows of or has played the game, don’t discuss about the Blue Whale game. By doing so, you increase the chance that your child will search for it on their own. Monitor your children’s online and social media activity to ensure they are not engaging with this game”, the advisory said.
The Blue Whale Challenge game is a 50-day challenge which demands players to complete tasks given by an anonymous “handler”. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing the challenge. The “handler” instruct the players to cause self-harm, leading up to suicide. And it is because of this that there has been a growing demand to ban this game.
Expressing concern over the availability of such deadly game on the internet, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had earlier asked the Government to remove the Blue Whale Challenge game from the social media after some children are suspected to have killed themselves influenced by the game. Gandhi’s letter said the game is believed to have persuaded some 100 children and young adults to kill themselves in the US, China and other countries. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week asking the Centre to ban the online game.