Look out for unusual symbols or injuries on the arms and lips of students. That’s one of the five directives issued by the Karnataka government to teachers and school managements to tackle the Blue Whale Challenge, an online game that drives players to suicide.
Though no Blue Whale-related tragedy has been reported in Karnataka, the education department has decided to take no chances as suicides triggered by the game are rising across the world. The first case of alleged Blue Whale suicide was reported on July 30 in Mumbai when a 14-year-old boy jumped to death from the seventh floor of a building.
State public instructions commissioner Sowjanya A is sued a circular directing teachers and parents to ring the alarm bell loud if they notice any weird signs or tattoos and injuries on students’ bodies, especially arms and lips. “This is the first major hint about the vulnerability of youngsters to the deadly game,” an education department official said. The four other directives ued by her to parents and issued by her to parents and teachers are: Watch out for kids who view horror movies continuously , those who wake up at 4.20 am, those who listen to disturbing and bizarre music and those who post depressing messages and selfies on social media.
The Blue Whale Challenge, which reportedly originated in Russia, challenges youngsters to engage in a series of harmful behaviour over 50 days. Some of the dares include harming oneself by cutting the skin, isolating oneself, visiting graveyards at night, viewing horror movies, listening to disturbing music and, finally, committing suicide. Survivors said they started playing the game after getting a customized link through social media and they found it difficult to disengage as their personal details were shared with the game’s administrator. A Blue Whale victim rescued in Jodhpur said she tried to kill herself to protect her mother whose details were with the game administrator.
Sowjanya said in the circular: “It is important to create awareness about the dangers associated with the game and prevent students from falling victims to it. At greater risk are minors who keep getting messages ordering them to complete the tasks assigned.” The commissioner instructed block education officers to raise awareness levels among students and order internet browsing centres to block access to it.