As shock, fear and distress grips parents across the world, this deadly challenge has taken yet another life in India. Bhopal claims its first unfortunate death owing to this disastrous game.
UNICEF has issued guidelines for parents, guardians and teachers across the world. This is all schools, educators and parents must read and share amongst the parents and students fraternity
1.What is the Blue Whale Challenge and why should parents be concerned?
An online administrator assigns tasks to its participants and they are expected to take photos while undertaking the challenge and upload them as proof. They cannot stop because they are blackmailed and cyber bullied into completion.
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- Where can children access this game?
Blue Whale is not a freely downloadable game, application or software. It is shared among secretive groups on social media networks. The creators seek out their players/victims and send an invitation.
- What kind of challenges do the players face?
It may not be a standard list of challenges and it is possible that curators of the game may come up with new ones. 1. Carve with a razor “f57” on your hand, send a photo to the curator. 2. Wake up at 4.20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos. 3. Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator. 4. Draw a whale on a sheet of paper, send a photo to curator. 5. If you are ready to “become a whale”, carve “YES” on your leg. If not– cut yourself many times (punish yourself) 6. Task with a cipher. 7. Carve “f40” on your hand, send a photo to curator. 8. You have to overcome your fear. 9. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to a roof. 10. Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to curator. 11. Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day. 12. Listen to music that “they” (curators) send you. 13. Cut your lip 14. Poke your hand with a needle many times 15. Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick 17. Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time. 16. Go to a bridge, stand on the edge 17. Climb up a crane or at least try to do it 18. The curator checks if you are trustworthy 19. Have a talk “with a whale” (with another player like you or with a curator) on Skype 20. Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling 21. The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it 22. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to rails (visit any railroad that you can find) 23. Don’t talk to anyone all day 24. Every day you wake up at 4:20 a.m. 25. Watch horror videos 26. Listen to music that “they” send you 27. Make 1 cut on your body per day 28. Jump off a high building. Take your life.
It is now available under different names such as A Silent House, A Sea of Whales and Wake Me Up at 4:20 AM.
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- Which age group is most prone to participating?
Tweens and teens (12-19 years).
- What are the signs in teens that might indicate their inclination?
When a child tends to stay by himself/herself, stops interacting with family and friends, often talks about running away from home or even death, or changes eating and/or sleeping habits.
- How can parents prevent their children from participating in such deadly online games?
Access to age appropriate online sites which do not promote unethical behaviour or violence. Accesses internet from a computer placed in the family space. Talk more. Use parental controls. Monitor screen time. Talk to other parents, share concerns and discuss best ways forward. If you find out that your child is already playing the Blue Whale Challenge, immediately stop him/her from using the internet and inform the local police authority.
- How can teachers help?
Monitor falling grades and social behaviours. No gadgets in school and sensitization about the pros and cons of the internet should be spoken about.
- You can contact the following for more information. • NIMHANS • AASRA • SNEHA INDIA, CHENNAI • THE SAMARITANS MUMBAI • CONNECTING INDIA, PUNE • MAITHRI, KOCHI • SUMAITRI • LIFELINE FOUNDATION • SAATH • ICALL, MUMBAI (+91 22 2556 3291, e-mail – [email protected]) • PRATHEEKSHA, KERALA (+91 484 2448830 E-mail [email protected]) • PRATHYASA, IRINJALAKUDA (+91-480 – 2820091) • THANAL, KERALA (0495 237 1100 E-mail – [email protected]) • MAITREYI, PONDICHERRY (+91-413-339999) • ROSHNI, SECUNDERABAD (040 790 4646 E-mail – [email protected])