Edu Dept issues alert to all schools, police to hold meeting of stakeholders
SRINAGAR: Amid growing global concern over ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, J&K Government has issued an alert to educational institutions aimed at preventing any untoward incident inspired by the twisted game.
Psychiatrists have also warned of serious implications of the game due to its wide reach and growing vulnerabilities among adolescent children.
Secretary Education, Farooq Shah, told Kashmir Reader that strict instructions have already been issued to all the schools to raise awareness about ill-effects of the Blue Whale game. “We have already communicated to all the school authorities to start an awareness campaign about the game so that children don’t get inspiration from the game,” he said.
However, the secretary said that there was no need to ban it for now. “At the first stage, we will start counselling children in schools,” Shah said.
The Blue Whale Challenge is a social media based game that ends in a suicide challenge. It has prompted Criminal Investigation Department of police to issue an advisory to the education department, which is the nodal agency for schools up to the higher secondary level.
“Since Jammu and Kashmir has a broader social media base consisting of a majority of teenagers who are more vulnerable and prone to such traps, it is advised that education department should impart awareness and knowledge of such fatal social media traps to students,” read the letter shot by the CID to education department last week.
Inspector General of Police, Muneer Khan, said that a meeting would be held soon in this regard with all the stakeholders to decide a future course of action.
“At this point, we can’t recommend banning any gaming platform completely as it would be harsh on our part. However, we should take precautionary measures to save our children from any kind of trap. That is why we will talk to all stakeholders to before coming to any decision,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Psychiatrists say that children in adolescent age turn vulnerable when they become needy for approval and acceptance. “Children usually become vulnerable to such exploitations when they face rejections. Makers of games like the Blue Whale Challenge are on the lookout for such children who are facing rejection and attack on their self-esteem. They look to fill the gap by luring them with his challenge through engagement and involvement,” said Dr Arshad Hussain, a well-known psychiatrist.
“Anyone having the fear of losing out due to parental and peer pressure is ready to risk their lives and do anything, that includes self-damage,” he said.
Dr Arshad said that children should be advised not to follow the crowd and not feel pressured into doing anything that will make them unsafe. “Parents should talk to their children, counsel them so that to prevent any untoward incident and becoming a trap of unscrupulous elements,” he added.
What is the Blue Whale Challenge?
The Blue Whale Challenge that originated in Russia gives players a series of 50 tasks on social media. It starts with watching a scary movie, escalates to self-harming and culminates in suicide. Each task has to be filmed and shared as ‘proof’ of completing the dreaded challenges.
One task asks participants to ‘carve f57’ with a razor on their hand. Others ask to ‘wake up at at 4.20 am and watch psychedelic and scary videos’ sent by the curator in the initial days, and going to the ‘rail tracks at 4.20 am’, ‘not talking to anyone else’, and finally ‘jumping off a high building to take your own life’ on the 50th day.