While people across the city is still shaken with the news about a teen committing suicide because of a game, the social media is taking responsibility and going ahead to support the ‘stopping’ of Blue Whale – an online game. Since everybody is googling to know more about the game, social media portal, Instagram has inserted caution for people to read and had offered to help before following the posts. They also started a handle ‘StopBlueWhale’ to extend support to stopping such a game.
It was 8 in the night when Dr Anjali Chhabria received her first call from a frantic parent on July 31. Ever since the news of a 14-year-old committing suicide has come out in the media, psychiatrists, across the city, have started getting worrisome calls from panic-stricken parents.
Reportedly, the teenager’s suicide was a part of a online game named ‘Blue Whale’ that is to be played over a period of 50 days – each day a challenge is to be completed. The last challenge in the game is to commit suicide. Mumbai is currently shuddering from the shock of this young teen that jumped off his sixth-floor terrace.
“Parents across forums like WhatsApp and groups have started inquiring. Firstly, we need to know why this is happening. We shouldn’t sensationalise the issue currently and parents must stop panicking,” said Dr Chhabria, consulting psychiatrist and founder of Mind temple.
Another psychiatrist has been up all day long helping out society members by giving advice to the frantic parents. The bothersome issue has been about how children are highly addicted to these games, “There’s too much of addiction, nowadays, among children and these can be harmful for them,” said Dr Priyanka Mahajan, a psychiatrist at Masina Hospital.
The game cannot be accessed by everybody as it has not been released in India officially say doctors, “This game can be accessed only through underground internet link. The game targets vulnerable people and that is very sad,” said Dr Milan Balakrishnan, Consultant psychiatrist JUNO clinic.
“It’s also affecting the academics of the children and they are becoming devoid of personal touch with people. They have stopped valuing the importance of the outdoor games and are too much engrossed in their phones and laptops,” added Dr Mahajan.
The question of growing addiction of social media among children has been an impending debate but now, suicides among children due to these games and series have haunted the parents and doctors, alike. The biggest worry among researchers and doctors is the easy availability of information on the internet about suicides. There are books and various sites that may be misused.
“There is this series named ‘13 reasons Why’ that a lot of people have seen. I have got patients who have seen this series and that is scary because it is like a suicide guide that’s openly available. Parents must look for different patterns in their children,” added Dr Chhabria.
There is always a positive solution to every problem believe doctors. “We need to understand that internet is a huge medium and is being used by everyone and anyone. It is only natural for kids to be increasingly curious about everything around. It is then that the parents must be open to discuss,” added Dr Balakrishnan.
Furthermore, it is important to understand that suicides are nothing but a manifestation of masked depression say experts. “Parents must take some time out regularly for their child and try to cultivate a friend-like relation with the child. Parents need to accept that this could happen to anybody’s child and rather than denying the possibility, they should have a proactive vigilant approach,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, Consultant psychiatrist in Mumbai.