The Blue Whale Challenge game made its debut in Russia more than four years ago and was responsible for the suicide of hundreds of teenagers all over the world. In the Blue Whale Challenge, a group of administrators gives a participant a task to be completed daily for a period of 50 days which culminates in the participant committing suicide in almost all cases.Due to lack of evidence due to sparse case studies created doubt about the existence of the suicide game but very recently doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences have documented one such case and confirmed that the game does exist. The case study has been reported in the medical journal called “Asia-Pacific Psychiatry”.
Dr Y P S Balhara head of behavioural addiction clinic at AIIMS and colleagues have reported that a student who had received the link to the online game in his social media account came to the Clinic with his father last year. The patient recounted his experience that when he clicked on the link, an application was installed on his phone the icon of which resembled a “big fish. The victim was asked to perform a unique task every day the challenges of which increased in magnitude every coming day.
Fortunately, the boy’s father spotted the application on the phone before he could set out for the further task after the sixth day. Father deleted the application immediately being aware of the game and its consequences and rushed him to BAC . The child was reportedly an introvert and has no behavioural problems.
The clinical evaluation of the patient revealed that he was suffering from depression. “We gave him medications and counseled him further to quit the habit,” Dr Y P S Balhara, who heads the behavioural addiction clinic at AIIMS, told TOI. Balhara, an associate professor of psychiatry at AIIMS, said they have uploaded a video on the BAC site to make people aware of the game, how to spot the signs of children being involved in it and how to avoid them. “The boy’s case confirms the existence of the game,” he said. The doctors said many other similar games were available online and parents should be aware of them. “Children are susceptible to games that involve self-harm. So, parents and teachers should look out for suspicious behaviour. Also, mental health professionals need to take such concerns when pointed out to them seriously,” said an expert.
The experts feel that use of internet among teenagers needs to be monitored as it is shared using a secret link between groups and individual users based on certain qualifying parameters via social networking platforms and chat groups. Last year Government had expressed its inability to curtail the menace of Blue Whale challenge n front of the Supreme Court.However, it issued a circular to all schools regarding the safe use of internet and facebook application in educational institutions.
In the wake of finding of case study of AIIMS, it will not suffice to admit technological inability to curb the suicide game.It certainly needs measures to counter this game whatsoever it may take.Because it is dangerous, certainly dangerous as it reportedly involves challenges ranging from watching horror movies in the middle of the night to cutting one’s wrist in the shape of a whale leading to leading to suicide.