Amitabh and Aamir alarmed by the Blue Whale Chal­lenge

A game called Blue Whale sui­cide chal­lenge tar­gets those who are de­pressed and turns sui­cide into a thrilling game. As a 14-year-old jumps off the ter­race in Mum­bai, po­lice sus­pect that the psy­cho­pathic net­work has spread to In­dia

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Shara Ashraf

Every­thing has its dis­ad­van­tages. The In­ter­net is a new medium, but if not used right, any­thing can cause prob­lems AAMIR KHAN, AC­TOR

Bol­ly­wood ac­tors Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have spo­ken out against the dan­ger­ous Blue Whale Chal­lenge, an on­line game push­ing a per­son to­wards sui­cide. The game, which en­cour­ages self-harm, al­legedly took the life of a 14-year-old boy in Mum­bai on July 29. Re­act­ing to this, both the ac­tors em­pha­sised on giv­ing im­por­tance to life over any­thing else.

Bachchan tweeted: “Read­ing alarm­ing news on a dan­ger­ous in­ter­net game be­ing played by the young! Life is given to live not give it up be­fore time!”

The chal­lenge, which is said to have orig­i­nated in Rus­sia, tar­gets those who dis­play sui­ci­dal ten­den­cies, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with them through the In­ter­net. The cu­ra­tor plays mind games with the vic­tims, giv­ing him or her 50 weird tasks. On the last task, the gamer is asked to end his/her life. Once in, a player is not al­lowed to quit.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, Aamir, too, stated the im­por­tance of not let­ting the In­ter­net in­flu­ence minds in a neg­a­tive way. He said, “I feel every­thing has its dis­ad­van­tages. The In­ter­net is a new medium, but if not used right, any­thing can cause prob­lems. Even the best of things, when not put to right use, can cause harm. Ob­vi­ously, we try to teach our kids to do the right thing. To an ex­tent, it’s the par­ents’, teach­ers’ and fam­ily mem­bers’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to show our kids the right path.” >> HT CITY RE­PORTER GOES UN­DER­COVER TO TAKE THE BLUE WHALE CHAL­LENGE,

Some­thing ma­cabre has been brew­ing on the In­ter­net, and it sounds like the per­fect plot for a third rate hor­ror film. A de­pressed young­ster comes across a so­cial me­dia group called Blue Whales. The group en­cour­ages him to take his life. It also prom­ises to make his exit from this world fun by turn­ing the sui­cide into a thrilling game. Af­ter sign­ing up, the young­ster is as­signed daily tasks for the next 50 days. It in­cludes in­flict­ing self­in­jury, watch­ing hor­ror movies, wak­ing up at odd hours to wrap the task and even carv­ing a whale shape on the arms. The task keeps get­ting tougher with each pass­ing day. On the last (50th day), the game ad­min ask the young­ster to com­mit sui­cide. Those who want to back out on the last day are threat­ened that their fam­ily mem­bers will be hurt if they don’t abide by the game rules. There is no exit.

It seems that the deadly game that orig­i­nated in Rus­sia has taken the life of a 14-year-old boy in And­heri East, Mum­bai. Man­preet Singh, who jumped off the ter­race of a seven-storey build­ing on Saturday, could be the first vic­tim of the net­work.

A NET­WORK OF PSY­CHOPATHS

This game started in Rus­sia four years ago on a so­cial net­work­ing site called VKon­takte. It has al­ready claimed over 130 lives in Rus­sia. It al­legedly led to its first sui­cide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a psy­chol­ogy stu­dent claimed that he in­vented the game. Budeikin, who was thrown out of his univer­sity, said he wanted to weed out the so­ci­ety by en­cour­ag­ing “those who have no value” to take their lives. Other re­ports claim that the mastermind be­hind the game, a post­man called Ilya Si­dorov, 26, was ar­rested in Moscow, Rus­sia. He used to en­cour­age teenagers to hurt them­selves and even­tu­ally com­mit sui­cide.

What is wor­ry­ing is that de­spite the com­mon knowl­edge that the deadly game started and spread on VKon­takte, which is a hugely pop­u­lar site in Rus­sia, no checks were brought in place to con­tain the net­work. One can eas­ily cre­ate a VKon­takte ac­count. And once you log in, and search for #blue­whale, you come across psy­chotic, ex­tremely de­press­ing mes­sages of young peo­ple des­per­ately want­ing to play the game and end their lives. Their pro­files are as ma­cabre as it can get. There are pic­tures of self-in­jury, ghosts and hor­ri­fy­ing sketches of peo­ple bleed­ing and try­ing to kill them­selves.

When this jour­nal­ist cre­ated an ac­count on VKon­takte, and asked a few users about Blue Whale, she was sent a link to a pro­file that claimed to add peo­ple to the Blue Whale net­work. The per­son has posted eerie sketches, in­clud­ing one that showed a blood­ied male fig­ure hurt­ing him­self with a knife. The per­son called Aisha An­drew chat­ted with her, and told her that there can be no look­ing back once a per­son be­gins the game. The first task that she was as­signed was to carve ‘F57’ on her arm with a blade at 4:20 am and send a pic­ture.

Dr Pulkit Sharma, psy­chol­o­gist, says that we need to im­me­di­ately ban ac­cess to such so­cial net­work­ing sites. “It’s im­por­tant to re­strict such con­tent. When a per­son is de­pressed, he or she is in a very frag­ile state of mind. Any­one who seems pow­er­ful to them and comes across as an an­chor point, can have the po­ten­tial to in­flu­ence their mind. When you tell a de­pressed per­son that he can live, and there is hope, he doesn’t find such words to be re­al­is­tic. But if some­one tells him that he is fit to die, and there is noth­ing wrong is seek­ing lib­er­a­tion and sui­cide is an eas­ier, log­i­cal way out, he im­me­di­ately re­lates to it. Ex­po­sure to such con­tent is ex­tremely dan­ger­ous for de­pressed young peo­ple.”

Sharma says that the net­work seems to be a cre­ation of a psy­chopath. “Such peo­ple be­lieve that they are larger than life. They are on a spe­cial mis­sion and they have a weird agenda that makes sense to them. They are fa­nat­i­cal. They see things in ex­treme, in black and white, the way the al­leged cre­ator of the Blue Whale net­work be­lieves that if he erad­i­cates de­pressed peo­ple, this world will be a happy place,” he says. Such a psy­cho­pathic mind could be an out­come of child­hood abuse, ne­glect and trauma.

PHOTO: JAFAR KHAN/FOTOCORP

PHOTO: SHASHANK PA­RADE/PTI

Screen­shots of chat with a young­ster claim­ing to be as­so­ci­ated with the Blue Whale net­work

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