Whales have been known to attack human beings very rarely. They are huge mammals that live in the depths of oceans and are known to feed only on krill and plankton found underwater. But thanks to a latest form of evolution, they have adapted to living on land; taking residence in mobile phones and the internet. They have moved over to a purely carnivorous diet from an omnivorous one. Their palettes have evolved and get tickled by the blood of young children and youth.
Yes, you guessed right: I am talking about the raging new computer game inappropriately named “The Blue Whale Challenge”. I say inappropriately because whales and human beings are creatures that get along rather well. The game, it is said, was named after a number of blue whales that got beached on a seashore. The whales were said to be committing suicide and hence the name of the game which also aims at inducing the player to commit suicide.
This change of diet and habitat of the blue whale is the latest product of that deep-laden instinct in man to destroy his fellow beings. The human mind is a marvel of nature; but this product of millions of years of evolution still retains its destructive tendencies. And so we have this latest form of perversion – a game designed to culminate in death.
The designer of this game is believed to be a Russian student of psychology who was expelled from university. He was arrested, charged and pleaded guilty. His reason for creating the game he says is to cleanse the society of people who are of no value. His contention is that if a person can be led to kill himself he is too weak and of no value to society.
Since Adolf Hitler, no one has attempted ethnic cleansing on a large scale. Hitler considered Jews, mentally ill people, retards, communists and several others sub-human. He wanted to get rid of the society of such people. He went about setting up concentration camps and systematically eliminating those who did not fit in with his idea of a master race which had no place for this so called sub-human class.
But Hitler’s methods, though horrendous, were straight forward. On the other hand the creator of the blue whale challenge has shown a degree of perversion that is simply monstrous. To kill is one thing, but to lead people to their deaths, carefully guiding them at every step of the way and ultimately convincing them to take their own lives needs a special caliber of sadistic psychopath.
Having said all this about the creator of this game, I would now like to turn to the game itself. For those of you who are not in the know I will briefly recount the modus-operandi of this game. The player is given a task to accomplish each passing day for fifty days. These tasks get increasingly tough and monstrous as days pass and are designed to exacerbate his urge to complete all tasks. The tasks, I believe start with mundane chores and lead on to things like writing letters in blood. On the 50th day the player is urged to take his own life. I have skipped the more graphic details because it would be nauseating to dwell on it.
Let us now turn over to the more important issue on the agenda, namely how to combat this menace?
First and foremost, how do we arrest the spread of this game? A blanket ban on games of this nature is the need of the hour. But being a software specialist myself, I can understand the difficulties involved with that approach. We can stop this game from being downloaded from known sources of games like the google or apple stores, but no doubt the dark side of the internet will provide other subtle means to download the game.
What then is the solution? We need to turn to ourselves. New mobile games are being designed everyday. We need to keep a check on what our children download. The mobile phone is a very useful technological marvel. But giving mobiles to very young children who are in grade five and grade six is a strict no-no. There have to be guidelines on when a child is old enough to be allowed to carry a mobile. In countries like UK and USA there are rules. But even after a child reaches the age when he can use a mobile, his activities have to be carefully monitored.
Fond parents pamper their children and buy them the latest gadgets to play with. While the parents are busy making money, the child is left to do whatever he wants with these gadgets. Children explore the internet and download all kinds of unwanted software and fall prey to dangerous things. We need to be careful what we hand over to our children, especially when it comes to gadgets.
Next, we have to deal with the children themselves. Educating children about the value of life needs to start at a very early age. One has to instill a sense of pride and self respect in children. We have to tell our children that they are born to live and live well. Even among children there are some minds which are highly impressionable and others who are of a stoic nature. So parents have to be extra careful if they feel their children can be easily led.
The modern approach to child rearing is to be a friend to your child. Most psychologists advise this. That is all fine up to a point but there are limits. In situations like the one thrown up by the blue whale menace, a parent has to put his foot down a bit. We have to maintain reasonable control on our children and at the same time we need to make our children realize it is for their own good. If you are able to do the latter, then the former will no longer appear overbearing to the child.
Another thing that can be done is for schools and parents to keep children educated about this menace. Finally, how do we recognize if the child is already into such games especially the blue whale? Keep a look out for abnormal or uncharacteristic behavior in your children. Depression, obsession or waking up at odd hours, attention deficit are all symptoms indicating that something is wrong. Appearance of tattoos on arms or the face of a child is another indication that something is off-track. Keep a lookout for all these things.
Children are precious to the family and the nation. We need to make sure that they are safe and grow up to be good citizens. Let us take heed of the blue whale warning and do whatever we can.