You would be aware of the high degree of publicity around the bizarre and destructive Blue Whale game. It is most of all, a symbol of our times. As adults we are uncertain about what is happening in the minds of young teenagers, especially because of the private world which technology promotes. We are also aware that anxiety, depression and peer pressure are higher in this generation of teenagers than ever before in human history. However, the way forward is what it has always been – ensuring a close personal connect with a child, discussing with them what is happening in their lives, being aware if they are struggling emotionally or if there is a change in their behavior. There is no substitute for these. As parents, we should have a non-judgmental attitude, one which is founded in an appreciation of what they are. Showing your child how to improve or urging them to change is a tricky business when you are dealing with a teenager. It is necessary to do, but only in a way where they do not feel worthless. At this age although on the outside, they may seem confident and dismissive of your opinion, but in actual are extraordinarily vulnerable to your opinion. Building up self-worth is probably the most valuable gift you can give to your child, one which will take them further in life than winning medals or getting the highest grades.
What is Blue whale challenge?
Blue Whale is not a downloadable game, application or software. It’s a social media phenomenon, which enters social media networks from secretive groups. You can only be part of the game if an administrator contacts you and enlists you as a potential whale, or candidate. It may also be available under different names such as A Silent House, A Sea of Whales and Wake Me Up at 4:20 AM. As has been widely reported it challenges young people to self-harm and finally commit suicide as part of a dare.
- Participants starts distancing themselves from the family or friends and stay alone.
- Their sleep pattern changes as the challenge requires them to wake up at 4.20 am.
- They become fascinated with horror movies as this is another challenge they must meet.
- Since one of the rules of Blue Whale game is to cut yourself every day, identifying such small cuts on the person’s body can also help to identify if they are playing the blue whale game.
As we always advise, parents should monitor the internet access of children, and keep an eye on their online activities. Whether Blue Whale or for some other reason such as surfing and chatting through the night, there must be a time in young people’s lives when they do not access social media.
Given the media exposure it is most likely that your child already knows about the Blue Whale challenge. A good way to begin a discussion is to ask your child if they know about the challenge. Then ask them to clue you in. Having them educate you is often the best way to start a true conversation and get their perspective. They’re far more receptive to that approach than they are to parent lectures.
If you find that your child is already playing the Blue Whale challenge, then the first step is to completely stop the internet access of the child and contact the police about the issue and seek further guidance. Approaching a certified psychologist will also be helpful.