CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government today issued an advisory on the online game Blue Whale Challenge, asking parents and teachers to keep a close eye on the behaviour of children.
The Home Department advisory, made in the wake of the suicide of a 19 year-old boy in Madurai who played the game, also warned internet users from sharing links, as it was "illegal" to do so and that they "will be punished as per law."
Citing available information, it said children in the age group of 12-19 years "are the most vulnerable group over the internet to be most prone to Blue Whale Challenge and similar games."
Children playing such online games tend to stay by themselves, stop interacting with family and friends, often talk about running away from home and "even about death," it said, adding, "there will be changes in their eating and/or sleeping habits."
The advisory said the name was also available under other names like A Silent House, A Sea of Whales and Wake Me Up at 4:20 AM.
"Hence, both the parents and teachers are advised to observe the children's behavior closely to identify any unusual changes like moodiness, less or no communication, lack of interest in studies and falling grades, which may be an indication for the children to fall prey to these evil online games," it said.
Children found playing the game should be prevented from using internet from any devices, and local police authorities should be informed, it said.
Psychological counselling to the concerned child should also be provided through government hospitals/NGOs, it added.
"It is also informed to the general public and internet users to refrain from forwarding any online links related to this game and make someone vulnerable and any such act is illegal and will be punished as per the law."
"They are also advised not to forward any such viral messages originated without credible sources (while) discussing about this game," it added.
Earlier, a 19 year-old boy from Madurai had committed suicide after playing the Blue Whale game, a 50-day challenge that involves tasks like waking up early and watching horror videos alone, carving a whale on the hand, and finally committing suicide.