Dr. R.P.Sharma, DGP, Odisha took a review of CID Crime Branch on issues related to lethal online game Blue Whale Challenge. After the review DGP has issued detailed guidelines to Dist. SsP/ DCsP to check the menace of Blue Whale Challenge. The guidelines issued are also meant for parents, Teachers as well as Police Officers.
R review of case studies related to the “blue whale game” revealed certain signs & symptoms noticed in the behavioral pattern of victims of this online game which the parents and teachers should take note of:
- Stops interacting with family and friends
- Often talks about running away from home or even death
- Changes eating and/or sleeping habits
- Signs of depression
- Spending too much of time on his / her phone
- Begun to look sad or lonely
- Started to lock his / her room
- Hurt marks on his / her arms or thighs
- Suddenly started watching horror movies or psychedelic thrillers
- Putting strange updates on his / her social media pages
- Started spending time on terrace alone
- Justifies the act of children who are committing suicide
- Shows sudden outburst of anger
- Loses interest in activities that they used to enjoy earlier
GUIDELINES FOR POLICE:
IICs / OICs have been instructed to convene meeting with Principals / Heads of Schools & Colleges and appraise them the dangers associated with the lethal online game “The Blue Whale Challenge”. The Heads of the Educational Institutions shall be requested to convene Parents-Teachers Meeting to sensitize the parents and make an Awareness Campaign among the students in their educational institutions. IICs / OICs have been instructed to quickly respond to the reports / incidents associated with the lethal online game “The Blue Whale Challenge. To take immediate steps in identifying the links / mobile based applications / web based applications containing Blue Whale Challenge game and furnish the same to CID Crime Branch for taking prompt steps in removing those links from internet. IICs / OICs have been instructed to conduct frequent checking at Cyber Café and their computer systems for availability of any link / website (from Internet Search History) pertaining to various online games like: Blue Whale Challenge, A Quiet House, A Silent House, A Sea of Whales, Wake Me Up at 4:20 am and take immediate steps in removing of those links & formatting of those computer systems.
ROLE OF PARENTS:
If the teenagers are seemingly lost, lonely and depressed, parents must take serious and immediate action to get them involved socially in the real world and divert their mind by providing activities or giving them something new to learn. Do not interrogate your child. Instead engage in a friendly discussion. If you see any attempt of self-harm, go straight to a psychiatrist instead of a physician. Make sure that your child has access to age appropriate online sites which do not promote unethical behavior or violence. Always ensure that your child accesses internet from a computer placed in the family space. Talk to your child more often. Explore the online world together and engage in interesting activities demonstrating ethical and safe online behavior. Be a role model to your child. Be conscious of your own online activities. Teach your kids not to share their personal information on the Internet. Talk to other parents, share concerns if any and discuss best ways to help your children. Keep yourself updated with recent internet phenomena. Observe your child’s behavior closely. Be alert to any unusual changes like moodiness, less or no communication, lack of interest in studies and falling grades. If you notice any such changes, closely monitor his/her online activities, talk to school authorities or consult a child psychologist. If you find out that your child is already playing the Blue Whale Challenge, immediately stop him/her from using the internet from any devices& counsel. Let them know that they can talk to you about anything wrong they see or come across online. Help them understand that strangers in real life are no different from strangers on the Internet. Caution them against joining any groups that ask them to perform undesirable tasks. Consider giving your children phones that they can use for just calling and texting.
ROLE OF TEACHERS:
Teachers need to keep an eye on falling grades and social behavior of the students. They need to monitor the behavior of each and every child. They should look for anti-social behavior, they should personally talk to such children who don’t interact with the other children much or are aloof. If they observe something that may seem suspicious or alarming, they should inform the school authorities immediately. They should ensure that children are sensitized about the pros and cons of the internet from time to time.