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"The Blue Whale Challenge: How Can We Help Our Teens"
"The Blue Whale Challenge: How Can We Help Our Teens"

“The Blue Whale Challenge: How Can We Help Our Teens”

The Blue Whale Challenge is a scary psychopathic 50 day online game that targets depressed preteens and teens all over the world. It is believed that the challenge originated in Russia four years ago and is primarily played on popular Russian social media site, VKontakte, or VK for short.

This game encourages the participants to take their lives and also makes this fun by turning the suicide into a thrilling game.

After signing up, the participant is assigned daily challenges for the next 50 days. It includes inflicting self-injury, watching psychedelic videos, waking up at odd hours(4:20am) and making marks on the arms and legs with razor to induce pain. The task keeps getting tougher with each passing day. On the last day, the game admin or curator as they call them, asks the participant to commit suicide. Those who want to back out on the last day are threatened that their family members will be hurt if they don’t abide by the game rules. There is no exit.

This scary game has already claimed over 130 lives in Russia and other countries including India. Recently, Manpreet Singh, a 14-year-old boy in Andheri East, Mumbai jumped off the terrace of a seven-storey building in order to complete this challenge.

Philipp Budeikin, a psychology student claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin, who was thrown out of his university, said he was attempting to weed out the society by encouraging those who have no value to take their lives. Other reports claim that the mastermind behind the game, a postman called Ilya Sidorov, 26, was arrested in Moscow, Russia. He used to encourage teenagers to hurt themselves and eventually commit suicide.

WHAT ATTRACTS THE PARTICIPANTS TOWARDS “THE BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE”?

When a teenager is depressed, he/she is in a very fragile and negative state of mind. Anyone who seems as a support system and is ready to listen and understand their state of mind comes across as a shoulder to them. If you tell a teen with depression that he can live and life is good, they find these words worthless however if someone tells them to die, he will relate to it.

SO HOW DO WE KNOW IF A TEEN IS DEPRESSED/ SUICIDAL?

  • Talking or joking about committing suicide.
  • Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead,” “I wish I could disappear forever,” or “There’s no way out.”
  • Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying (“If I died, people might love me more”).
  • Writing stories and poems about death, dying or suicide.
  • Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury.
  • Giving away prized possessions easily.
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for the last time.
  • Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves.

HOW CAN WE HELP AS A PARENT/ RELATIVE/ FRIEND

  • Take it seriously: “This is no reason to commit suicide”, is often said by people who knew a completed suicide. You cannot assume that because you feel something is not worth being suicidal for you, the person you are with feels the same way. It is not how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting the person who has it.
  • Suicidal behavior is a cry for help: “If a someone is going to kill himself, nothing can stop him” is a myth. The fact that a person is still alive is sufficient proof that part of him wants to remain alive. If a suicidal person turns to you it is likely that he believes that you are more caring, more informed about coping with misfortune, and more willing to protect his confidentiality. No matter how negative the manner and content of his talk, he is doing a positive thing and has a positive view of you.
  • Be willing to give and get help: Suicide prevention is not a last minute activity. Unfortunately, suicidal people are afraid that trying to get help may bring them more pain: being told they are stupid, foolish, sinful, or manipulative; rejection; punishment; suspension from school or job; written records of their condition; or involuntary commitment. You need to do everything you can to reduce pain, rather than increase or prolong it. Constructively involving yourself on the side of life as early as possible will reduce the risk of suicide.
  • Listen: Give the person every opportunity to unburden his troubles and ventilate his feelings. You don’t need to say much and there are no magic words. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it. Give him relief from being alone with his pain; let him know you are glad he turned to you. Patience, sympathy, acceptance. Avoid arguments and advice giving.
  • Urge professional help: In most such cases, professional help is required. Do not hesitate from talking to a Psychologist.

“SUICIDES CAN BE PREVENTED, ONLY IF WE STAY ALERT AND CARING”

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