Health Fo­cus

Many a teen has suc­cumbed to the deadly Blue Whale Chal­lenge in the last few months. ‘H&N’ digs deeper to nd out the rea­son be­hind it, and how it can be averted.

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

Dig­ging deep into the Blue Whale sui­cide

14-year-old Man­preet jumped to death from a high rise in Mumbai, to win the Blue Whale game. 22-year-old Sawant, an In­dus­trial Train­ing In­sti­tute stu­dent, al­legedly hanged him­self in his house. Later, he was found play­ing the Blue Whale game. A 14-year-old So­la­pur boy, who went missing, was res­cued by the po­lice. On in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it was found that he was play­ing the Blue Whale game. A 7th stan­dard stu­dent in In­dore was res­cued by his pro­fes­sor, when he was at­tempt­ing to com­mit sui­cide to win the Blue Whale game. A 15-year old boy com­mit­ted sui­cide by suf­fo­cat­ing him­self to death in West Ben­gal. He too was a player of the Blue Whale game. Many more such cases have been re­ported in the last few months in In­dia...

The Deadly Game!

The Blue Whale Sui­cide Chal­lenge is a game which brain­washes play­ers into tak­ing up self-harm­ing tasks be­fore the fi­nal task of killing them­selves. This game was cre­ated by a Rus­sian man, Philipp Budeikin. The game has 50 tasks and it goes on for a pe­riod of 50 days.

The cu­ra­tor cre­ates an emo­tional bond with the play­ers through an ar­bi­trary un­in­formed set of steps de­mand­ing com­ple­tion in or­der to move for­ward in the game. The game binds im­ma­ture teenagers via so­cial me­dia, and ev­ery task played by the ‘blue whale’ re­quires a val­i­da­tion, which is done ei­ther by post­ing it on In­sta­gram or twit­ter to in­form the ad­min. Mumbai-based psy­chi­a­trist An­jali Chab­bria, au­thor of ‘Death Is Not An An­swer’, ex­plains the rea­sons why teens are play­ing this strange game.

Low Self-Worth

Teenagers who start play­ing this game are made to be­lieve that they are of no worth. The game ma­nip­u­lates vul­ner­a­ble teenagers to have se­ri­ous thoughts of sui­cide, lone­li­ness, and death. The player is not allowed to com­plete his/ her sleep, which ham­pers men­tal sta­bil­ity. The player is made to be­lieve that his sui­cide is ac­tu­ally for a good mo­tive. Such sui­cides are called al­tru­is­tic sui­cide (when a per­son com­mits sui­cide in or­der to ben­e­fit oth­ers).

Smil­ing De­pres­sion

But a deeper cause is de­pres­sion. Of­ten termed as be­ing lonely and sad, not ev­ery de­pres­sion has the same symp­toms. Nowa­days, teenagers suf­fer from smil­ing de­pres­sion, which means the child might look nor­mal and happy from out­side but from in­side, is very sad.

Teenagers who start play­ing this game are made to be­lieve that they are of no worth. The player is made to be­lieve that his sui­cide is ac­tu­ally for a good mo­tive.

Blue Whale, as a chal­lenge, gives the child a sense of achieve­ment and hap­pi­ness from in­side, when they win the dif­fer­ent lev­els in the game. It is not a game that kills; it is a sad per­son try­ing to achieve some­thing...

So­cial Me­dia Adds To It

Though so­cial me­dia is not the main rea­son be­hind teenage sui­cides, it plays a ma­jor role in caus­ing smil­ing de­pres­sion: So­cial me­dia has re­moved all the bound­aries today, and made it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween real and pre­tend­ing to be real. One needs to un­der­stand that no­body posts their short­com­ings; they all share happy pic­tures. This cre­ates images of a fake re­al­ity, es­pe­cially in the minds of teenagers, who binge watch the images of their friends, celebri­ties and even strangers, only to re­alise how un­happy they are. There are many groups on so­cial me­dia, where such like-minded peo­ple come to­gether to dis­cuss their is­sues and plan sui­cides. They iden­tify with each other and also post their sui­cide plans. Sui­cide brings a per­son fame – the main mo­tive be­hind com­mit­ing the act.

Blue Whale, as a chal­lenge, gives the child a sense of achieve­ment and hap­pi­ness from in­side, when they win the dif­fer­ent lev­els in the game. It is not a game that kills; it is a sad per­son try­ing to achieve some­thing...

Par­ents Can Help

There are cer­tain be­havioural changes by which the par­ents can iden­tify whether their child is de­pressed or not: Con­tin­u­ous mood swings, or locks him­self in­side the room and does not come out. Ei­ther he starves him­self, or overeats. Starts drink­ing or smok­ing. As today’s gen­er­a­tion needs in­stant an­swers for ev­ery is­sue they have, drugs, al­co­hol and smok­ing be­comes an easy so­lu­tion for them.

If par­ents no­tice any of the above changes, it’s time to be more proac­tive and act wisely:

In­stead of get­ting an­gry or say­ing ‘ aise nahi bolte’, they should sym­pa­thise with the child. Don’t let it pass by say­ing, ‘Oh, no, it’s noth­ing’. Al­ways take such mat­ters se­ri­ously and talk to your child. Ask your child to ex­press their feel­ings, and make them feel com­fort­able and op­ti­mistic. Never leave your child alone. Men­tal health should be given as much im­por­tance as any any phys­i­cal is­sue. The need of the hour is to un­der­stand chil­dren bet­ter and not pan­ick about such blue whale cases.

Self-Help Tips for Chil­dren/ Teens/ Any­one Go­ing Through De­pres­sion:

Next time you feel life is not worth liv­ing, go and speak about it to some­one. Talk to a fam­ily mem­ber or your fam­ily doc­tor. Do re­search on why you are feel­ing this way. Are you dis­ap­pointed or up­set with some­thing or some­one? Al­ways re­mem­ber, tough times do not last, tough peo­ple do. Also re­mem­ber, you are not the first per­son go­ing through it so the best way to get help is to talk. Read a good book. It will re­fresh your mind. Ex­er­cise and eat well. Be­ing fit is al­ways im­por­tant to lead a happy life. Do not be alone. If you get neg­a­tive thoughts in your mind, dis­cuss with some­one who loves you and cares about you. Try and stay away from in­tox­i­cants. It’s an in­stant cure, with a long-term sick­ness. And re­mem­ber, death is never an an­swer. HAR­SHA AD­VANI

Don’t let it pass by say­ing, ‘Oh, no, it’s noth­ing’. Al­ways take such mat­ters se­ri­ously and talk to your child. Ask your child to ex­press their feel­ings, and make them feel com­fort­able and op­ti­mistic.

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