BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE
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.