TIRUCHY: The sinister Blue Whale Challenge game claiming lives of young minds across the country has made quite an impact in the State going by the records of the ‘104’ emergency helpline. Students and their parents have kept the helpline buzzing throughout with 30 to 40 calls recorded in the past four days alone when the issue was at its peak. Counsellors at GVK EMRI are busy providing advice to callers to stop proceeding further into the deadly game.
Speaking to Express, a GVK EMRI official said the game has been gaining the attention of youngsters between 15 to 20 years of age. “We recently received a call from a teacher asking for symptoms to identify the addiction to Blue Whale Challenge. The teacher said that one of her students, who is bright in academics, is probably addicted to the game,” the official said. The counsellors provide tips to teachers on how to keep students away from the sinister game, mostly be keeping them away from electronic devices.
Most of the calls received on the helpline are to get a clear picture of what exactly is the Blue Whale Challenge and how to prevent somebody from becoming hooked on the game. Parents have been asked to keep a check on their wards as to how many hours they spend on electronic devices and whether they are active socially. “The counsellors even advise parents to interact with them, so as to make them feel sociable,” said the official. Counsellors have been working in shifts round the clock giving out advice to concerned parents and students.
Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, a psychiatrist and founder of ‘Sneha’, a suicide prevention helpline, said Blue Whale Challenge is not downloadable but is an email-based game where instructions are provided. The foundation has received around five calls seeking counselling.“Initially, the tasks are simple but they become progressively worse in the higher levels. It is easy for parents and teachers to notice something amiss with youngsters as they start doing bizarre things,” she said.Once a child gets into the game, threats and cyber bullying take place.
How to come out of it
Steps to get your child out of the Blue Whale Challenge
Do not shout at children
Disable the internet connection
Talk to your child, and tell them that somebody is manipulating them
Explain about the ill-effects of the game
Parents should assure the child that nothing bad will happen if they stop playing the game
Children or parents wanting to get counselling can dial 104 for GVK EMRI helpline