BLUE WHALE CHAL­LENGE

Alive - - Revamp -

In In­dia, since June month of this year, Blue Whale’s name is be­ing re­peated as a killer of youths. Blue Whale Chal­lenge is an on­line game, which has also been named for sui­cides com­mit­ted by chil­dren from across the world. Rus­sia be­comes the worst vic­tim as more than 130 sui­cide cases are re­ported to be linked with the game since its cir­cu­la­tion over in­ter­net in 2013.

This mo­bile game of­fers a se­ries of dar­ing acts, eas­ier at start­ing and tough to tougher to the fin­ish­ing that is set in a way that the par­tic­i­pant gets en­gaged and en­grossed and keeps un­der­tak­ing ad­ven­tur­ous and even harm­ing acts.

Ac­tu­ally the game has been de­signed in such a way, a par­tic­i­pant can’t es­cape on his or her own terms and when the pro­gress­ing dar­ing acts and deeds take the ado­les­cent to the point of sui­cide in day-af­ter-day steps they don’t even re­alise it’s grav­ity well as they are psy­cho­log­i­cally com­mit­ted to perform any tasks given by the game ad­min­is­tra­tor on­line. The dar­ing acts even reach the level of etch­ing a blue whale on one’s skin and jump­ing off a build­ing. In In­dia also, more than seven deaths and sui­cide at­tempts have been re­ported so far af­ter play­ing the game. All sui­cide cases are un­der investigation by the po­lice. Look­ing into the investigation, the most im­por­tant point is that no investigation so far claimed to have found any ev­i­dence to prove that the ado­les­cent who com­mit­ted sui­cide did so fol­low­ing that par­tic­u­lar game’s in­struc­tions!

Hence, blam­ing only the game for ado­les­cents’ sui­cides is cer­tainly not fare. Though, as the con­tents of the game show, it does pro­voke the par­tic­i­pants to com­mit sui­cide. But, sci­en­tif­i­cally, only the game can­not be la­belled as the sole fac­tor for sui­cides com­mit­ted by many youths across the world.

When ob­served keenly, it ap­pears that most sui­cide cases linked with Blue Whale game do hap­pen in the re­gions, which wit­nessed high sui­cide cases in past also. Rus­sia, its erst­while com­po­nents Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyzs­tan and sev­eral Cen­tral Asian coun­tries are al­ready on top of the list of high­est sui­cide rates. In­dia too falls in top 10 coun­tries with high basal sui­cide rate.

The com­plex­ity of de­pres­sion cou­pled with other im­me­di­ate fac­tors needs to be as­sessed and timely in­ter­ven­tion is the need of hour for the ado­les­cents, es­pe­cially with vul­ner­a­ble ones. Check­ing the im­me­di­ate fac­tors, such as Blue Whale Chal­lenge is one good step, as in­structed by the Supreme Court of In­dia to the gov­ern­ment. But, this is not enough to end or even re­duce sui­cide ten­den­cies among youths. Un­less, the di­ag­no­sis of men­tal health on so­ci­ety level and pub­lic aware­ness on de­pres­sion is done suc­cess­fully, the num­ber of sui­cide cases in In­dia will not come down.

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