The Kerala Police on Saturday issued a warning to the public urging them to be cautious in the wake of the Blue Whale game that has reportedly claimed the lives of several teenagers across the world.
The police, in its statement, asked parents to be cautious of their children's activities, including the ones on social media.
The Blue Whale challenge, reportedly created by a former convict in Russia, is said to psychologically provoke players to indulge in daring, self-destructive tasks for 50 days before finally taking the "winning" step of killing themselves -- and each task must be filmed and shared as "proof".
The Kerala police said that a lot people in the country are influenced by computer games. However, the Blue Whale is dangerous as it can manipulate a person to take their own life.
There have been reports of suicides related to Blue Whale in other countries. Some media reports also said that in India, children in the ages between 14 and 18, have been playing the game, the police said in its statement. It was after receiving this information that they decided to put out a warning for parents.
"While no such cases have been reported so far in Kerala, this is just a warning for the public, especially parents, to monitor the online activities of their children," Srikanth, Inspector with the Kerala Police Hi-tech cell, said.
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Recently, a teen from Mumbai is said to have taken his life after playing the game.
A 14-year old schoolboy, Manpreet Singh Sahani, allegedly walked off the fifth floor of his building in Shere-e-Punjab Colony in Andheri east on the evening of July 30.
Prior to his death leap, the Class 9 student texted a friend announcing his intentions: "I am going to the building to jump", and before anybody could rush to help him, he had already jumped off.
His friends claim that he was playing the 50-day 'dare challenge' of The Blue Whale and when he spoke of not attending school anymore and about the suicide, most dismissed it lightly.
According to experts, teenagers are more vulnerable because the virtual world allows them to act freely -- without the restrictions prevalent in the real world -- which seems to give them an adrenaline boost.
"Teenagers generally take these risks because they are vulnerable and prone to seek validation. Also, it makes them feel like they are a part of something that is bigger than them," Samir Parikh, Director of Department Mental Health & Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare, New Delhi, told IANS.
"It has been observed that some teenagers have very low self-esteem, and rely significantly on peer approval. For them, the external environment becomes a source of inspiration, which is why they are willing to do anything to (project) a certain image," said Sameer Malhotra, Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi.
With IANS inputs