Games generally are supposed to be fun and engaging for everyone who is part of it. Playing games had always been an activity which brought joy to children. Who knew that games could turn out to be so diabolical and twisted that it could claim a life of an innocent young boy?
The suicide of a 14-year-old boy in Mumbai has left the city’s parents on edge. While investigating the cause behind the suicide police officials reportedly found that the boy’s friends linked his extreme act to a suicide challenge.
This has left everyone speculating whether his suicide is linked with an online game named ‘Blue Whale ’. The horrifyingly dangerous game has been linked to at least 130 teen deaths across Russia, and is also associated with similar incidents in other countries as well.
The Blue Whale game is unlike any online game where a participant can win by crossing a level. This is a 50-day game wherein participants are given a challenge for each day and suicide is the price of winning. Once a participant signs up for this game, the curator on the other side warns them that there is no turning back from the game. And at no point can you quit or opt out of the game.
The danger of this game has been highlighted by international media earlier. In Russia, its severity is felt more intensely as over 130 suicides have been linked to this game though the officials haven’t confirmed if these incidents were directly connected with it.
Mumbai police officials haven’t yet confirmed the link between the suicide of this 14-year-old and the Blue Whale game, but the fact that his friends were discussing a suicide challenge is an indicator that it has become known among Indian teenagers.
On the backdrop of this spine-chilling episode, experts have advised parents to be alert and seek the professional help if they notice strange behaviour in their children.
“Most of the times parents don’t realize what is wrong with their child. They bring it to us complaining that he or she doesn’t study. They don’t try to identify the root cause of a problem,” said Dr Nirmala Rao, Consultant Psychiatrist.
According to Dr Sagar Mundada, Consultant Psychiatrist, the number of teenagers getting involved in the world of online gaming is rising, and banning the Internet is not a practical option. “The general communication gap between parents and their kids keeps on increasing as the child becomes a teenager. This is a bad sign. Parents need to be vigilant about their child’s activities. They need to build trust through communication so that in the case of a problem, the child will seek help from them first instead of adopting extreme measures.”
According to Dr Anjali Chhabria, Consulting Psychiatrist in Mumbai and founder of Mindtemple, friends can be helpful in such situations. “Teenagers are generally more open up to their friends, than parents. So I would advised kids that, if you come across any strange behaviour in your friends then help him/her out. Speak with them and try to understand what’s wrong. Then inform your teachers and parents immediately.”