Is Nagpur ready to face lethal Blue Whale bite? Erm!! We don’t think so!

Sitting on a terrace parapet, he posted his picture. A man from another building saw him sitting on parapet and asked him to get down. He even took a selfie with the person from where he was sitting and posted it on a group. The man on the other building left from his terrace to save him. However, he jumped down from the terrace when he saw the person coming his way. He was immediately carried to hospital where 14 year old Manpreet was declared dead. Another sheer waste of a young life by the infamous Blue Whale Challenge was reported.

After a recent death associated with the Blue Whale Challenge was reported in Madurai, the data collected from deceased’s phone suggested the Tamil Nadu police that at present, 75 more people are playing the game in Madurai which, certainly, is an alarming data given that players are compelled to end their lives as a conclusion of the game.

It is to be mentioned that a 17 year old girl, has recently been arrested from Khabarovsk Krai region of Russia for being the alleged master mind of the game. The teenager allegedly threatened her victims that she would murder them or their families if they did not complete the tasks that were set.

Considering the need of the hour, Nagpur Today conducted a research on the level of awareness about the game in Nagpur and steps being taken to avoid any loss of life in the city associated with the notorious game. Although, no death or player of the game has been reported in the city so far, the level of awareness remains far below the expectations.

Top echelons barely have any idea
The top echelons of the concerned departments appear to be barely having any idea about this challenge which has caused a havoc world-wide. “The problem is that it is not possible to detect a link of this game so that we can take any action. It is nearly impossible to access the real link. Playstore and Appstore do have games titled by this name but they are not the ones claiming lives ruthlessly. If we get an access to the real link of the game, we can delete it with the help of CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team)” informed one of the sources from cyber cell. “By the time the administration takes any action, it is the parents who need to keep a strong eye on online activities of children”, he added.

Governments, especially ours, immediately reached out for the easiest solution — ban the Blue Whale. Get the tech giants to prevent access to it. Not a bad idea. But probably it is not enough. In today’s tech-driven society, Blue Whale isn’t the first, last or only threat of its kind and nor is it the whole picture.

The game is based on the principle of Highly-suggestible personalities: Dr. Avinash Joshi
Just as in the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, where a young and rather pretty high-school girl lists, on 13 cassettes, all that hurt her enough to take her own life, depression can be masked in teenagers with adults around never guessing what hurts them. Perhaps teenagers with their own set of thirteen reasons find a cruel social game like the Blue Whale making up the fourteenth reason.

Not much is known about the actual background of the children who are falling prey to this game and allowing themselves to be brain-washed completely. Children like to take silly dares to prove their gallant. “Although I have not seen any patient who has been dealing with this game, certainly because the players do not open up about it, I believe that the game is based on the principle of Highly-Suggestible personalities. They are the people who lack judgement and do what others ask them to without analysing the task themselves. The capability to think about pros and cons of a situation is what lacks in them”, said senior Psychiatrist Dr. Avinash Joshi. “I feel that the game solely targets on such personalities. However, we need to look deeper before declaring that it only targets the depressed”, he added.

No special awareness in schools and colleges of Nagpur to tackle the probable trouble
On contacting the schools and colleges of Nagpur, it has been discovered that no special drive is being conducted in the schools to alert the children about the harm and witlessness of this fatal game. It is worth mentioning that schools in Delhi-NCR, have been directed by Haryana Children Protection Commission for deploying digital surveillance in schools, installation of firewalls, monitoring software mechanism and teaching effective use of internet to students.

However, as of now, no such step has been taken in Nagpur Schools and Colleges. “We have been keeping a close eye on our children. We do not feel any of our children is involved in the game or can be in the future”, said Devendra Dasture, Chairman, South Point School. “Also, it is a basic behaviour that a child does what is denied to him. Thus, we are not conducting any such drive. We trust that our students possess a logical judgement”, he added.

Speaking on the matter, Rini Dwivedi, Professor, Shivaji Science College stated, “We are not taking any steps for the awareness as of now. However, I do am aware of the chaos the game has caused. Students are spending very limited time with us; I believe if parents monitor their behaviour closely, they will be easily able to detect any change in that”.

Parents everywhere must keep a sharp and nervous eye on their children’s time with their phones and computers. By now, everyone’s aware of the challenge online that seems to hook youngsters into taking up fifty challenges, all involving self harm, starting easy but eventually meant to end in the victim’s suicide — something that at least 130 kids have obligingly completed, some right here in India.

—Aditi Mishra