Morbid Blue Whale game is a reality: Explainer for parents on the 'game' and what to do

These are the 10 things you should look out for to ensure that your teen is safe.
Morbid Blue Whale game is a reality: Explainer for parents on the 'game' and what to do
Morbid Blue Whale game is a reality: Explainer for parents on the 'game' and what to do
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From Mumbai to Kerala to several other parts of the country, teenagers are under threat from a new online phenomenon: The Blue Whale “game”. Recently, a teenager’s suicide in Kerala has raised suspicion that he was pushed to take the extreme step after he started “playing” this dangerous game which involves a series of self-harm actions ultimately leading to suicide.

Even as alarm continues to spread across India over the frightening Blue Whale Challenge, what can parents do to ensure that their children don’t fall prey to this sick phenomenon?

1. Monitor your child's social media activity: If they post anything with the hashtags "#CuratorFindMe", "#F57", "#BlueWhale",  "#wakemeupat420" or anything else that sounds suspicious, be alert because your teen could be involved in the dangerous activity.

2. If your teen is already suffering from depression, anxiety or some form of depressive episodes, they are at a higher risk of falling prey to the sadistic network.

3. Look out for signs of self-harm (like cuts and bruises) and sudden behavioural changes in your child.

4. If they are unusually secretive or spend too much time online, these could be signs of trouble.

5. Watch out for your teen's sleeping patterns. Blue Whale challenge includes "tasks" that are supposed to be performed at odd hours.

6. If you suspect that your teen may be "playing" Blue Whale, prepare yourself and approach them sensitively. Yelling at them or cutting off their social time may be counter productive.

7. Considering that a lot of teens who fall prey to Blue Whale are battling personal demons, it would help to talk to them about how they feel and to validate their feelings.

8. Get your teen the mental health assistance that they require. Do not pass it off as "attention seeking" or "mischievous" behaviour. Do not stigmatise mental health issues.

9. In general, be open to conversations about mental health. Do not avoid the issue as taboo and always tell your children that they should feel free to talk to you about anything that is  troubling them.

10. If you believe that your child is being bullied at school or conversely, if you believe that your child may be a bully, approach them about the subject and take necessary action.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact Childline at 1098.

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