From Mumbai to Kerala and several other parts of the country, teenagers are under threat from a new online game, namely the Blue Whale. A teenager’s suicide in Kerala raised suspicion that he was pushed to take the extreme step after he started “playing” this dangerous game which involves a series of self-harm actions ultimately leading to suicide.
Even as alarm continues to spread across India over the frightening Blue Whale Challenge, what can parents do to ensure that their children don’t fall prey to this sick phenomenon?
Watch your child’s social media activity: If they post anything with the hashtags “#CuratorFindMe”, “#F57”, “#BlueWhale”, “#wakemeupat420” or anything else that sounds suspicious, be alert because your teen could be involved in the dangerous activity.
If your teen is already suffering from depression, anxiety or any other form of emotional turmoil, they are facing a risk of falling in the trap of the sadistic network. Check for signs of self-harm (like cuts and bruises) and sudden behavioural changes in your child. If your child is unusually secretive or spend too much time online, these could be signs of trouble.
Watch out for your teen’s sleeping patterns. Blue Whale challenge includes “tasks” that are supposed to be performed at odd hours.
If you suspect that your teen may be “playing” Blue Whale, prepare yourself and approach them sensitively. Yelling at them or cutting off their social time may not work.
When a lot of teens are falling prey to Blue Whale, it would help to talk to them about how they feel and to validate their feelings.
Provide mental health assistance to your teen if required. Do not ignore it as “attention seeking” or “mischievous” conduct. Do not stigmatise mental health issues.