Frequent news on incidents related to The Blue Whale Challenge has become a cause of great worry for parents across the world. This has led to an increased need for discussion on unmonitored screen time and its effects of children today.
What is the Blue Whale Challenge?
The Blue Whale Challenge is generally referred to an online game which instigates kids to complete a series of tasks often involving risk or self-harm. The challenges may often start with something very simple and benign – like putting a sticker on your hand, or wearing the colour red to school. However, they all lead up to the final task – to take one’s own life. The player “wins” by committing suicide.
How much of a threat is this Blue Whale Challenge for our Kids?
The Blue Whale Challenge has become a serious issue across the world, with many governments blocking the game and the websites linking to the game.
However, a substantial amount of damage has already been done. Since its inception in 2013 in Russia, this ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ has claimed more than 100 lives all across the world with cases of new victims regularly.
What can you do?
In this day and age of unlimited access to data, it is perhaps impossible to completely control our children’s time on the Internet. However, we can certainly talk to them, and help them separate the good from the bad.
Here are some tips for parents and caregivers like us to keep our children safe in an online world and far away from the clutches of nefarious games like ‘Blue Whale’ –
1) Most young children don’t use browsers, and used downloaded apps. Monitor what apps they’re using, and if those apps allow receiving messages from other users or dynamic content. Both the App Store and Play Store have helpful age guidelines in the app descriptions.
2) Do not give your children the ability to download new apps without your supervision.
3) Always ensure that your child accesses internet only from a family space or under the supervision of a trusted adult (for e.g. Parent, teacher or a close family member).
4) If it is not always possible for you to monitor your child’s online activities all the time, you can make use of various parent control apps available on the App Store and the Play Store. This will help you ensure that you child is able to access only those parts of the internet which are approved by you.
5) Be up to date about the latest/trending internet phenomena. Talk to your child about them and try to get a grasp of their understanding.
6) Be on the lookout for unusual changes in your child’s behaviour. Please remember that even if you are vigilante about your child’s screen time, another child at school can share something they picked up on the Internet.
Apart from this, talk to other parents, share your concerns, and discuss ways to ensure your children’s safety and taking advantage of technology at the same time!