Due to easier access and lack of awareness among the parents, the internet is becoming lot more dangerous place than we can imagine. Each day, we get introduced to new threats online.
The latest one is called the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ which led to hundreds of suicides all around the world. This ‘game’ is designed by a Russian university-expelled psychologist with a motive to ‘clean up the world.’
In this app, there are two types of people: curators/administrators, and players. Players – those who want to play the game are given each task each day. It starts from less-weird things like waking up 4:20 in the morning to self-harm like cutting a wrist and scratching your legs to draw whale on it.
To keep the interest of the players in the game, curators ask them to listen to the music they send and watch horror movies in the night. With each step, the player has to send the photo of accomplishing this step. The final and 50th task of the game is to ‘end yourself’ – commit suicide.
It is not yet confirmed that either there is an app for this game or being played on social media websites like Facebook and VK (Russian alternative to Facebook). Authorities all around the world are worried about this ‘phenomenon of suicides linked to the pressure groups on social media.’
One Russian journalist made an account on VK of 15-year-girl and tried to reach such a group. An “administrator contacted him.” He was given the first task to scratch ‘F58’ on his arm. The journalist doctored an image using Photoshop, but curator didn’t fall for it and stopped replying.
Being a cyberbullying activist, when I was working on this, I went for its search trend – a graph which shows how many and where most people are searching for a specific keyword. According to that graph, “Blue Whale challenge” and related terms are mostly being searched in our neighboring country – India.
Cases are being reported by all the major new outlets of India including Hindustan Times, NDTV and DNA. Authorities and media in Pakistan also have to do serious homework for this time and future as well. They are the issues which we can’t fight through nukes and missiles. Public awareness is the only way out.
Parents, please keep an eye on the digital activity of your children. Talk to them more often and try to bridge any gap between you and them.
Children, your lives are very precious, and you are very dear to us. Stop doing stupid things with your lives just due to little sorrows. Come, talk to us. We all can be cyber friends.