Tag Archives: Blue Whale Challenge

The Secrets We Don’t Tell, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 25th August, 2017

The Secrets We Don’t Tell

Cyber Bullying

The word Sarahah is an Arabic word and it means “honesty”. This new word is also an App that has gone viral because of its purpose, which is to send “honest” but anonymous messages to whomever you like. But guess what it is not the first app to exist and do so; there was the Secret in 2014 and then the Whisper in 2012.

Whisper still exists and on their website they have stated the following: “if would you like to prevent your child from having access to the Whisper app, you can do so by placing restrictions on their device.”

After the break out story of Edward Snowden there have been several attempts to have secret chats, for example the Telegram offers self-destruct option for your chats and end-to-end encryption where only messages are read by the its intended recipient.

Sarahah was designed so that employees could freely give feedback but when the teens caught on it became viral. The ironical part is that it was created in Saudi Arabia by a developer called ZainAlabdin Tawfiq and he did it because he thought it was the best way to share “constructive feedback”.

These secret apps are weapons of cyber bullying. In a recent survey titled “Eleventh National Poll on Children’s Healthy” by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in the US parents recognize cyber bullying as serious health and threat issue to their children to up to 30% of the cases.

According to the research done by the University of Birmingham, children and young people under-25 that become victims of cyber bullying are more than twice as likely to enact self-harm and attempt suicide than non-victims.

Just when we thought the Blue Whale Challenge is under control, India has been reporting a few cases across Mumbai, Delhi and Indore. This is an Internet game where after playing it for 50 days the player has to commit suicide. To show his progress, the player is asked to share photos at every level where there is also a sign of self-harm as that is part of the game.

However there are claims too that there is no conclusive evidence that this game really did result into suicides in Russia. According to a watchdog site SNOPES; they claim “The reasons teenagers commit suicide are well researched. According to data from the General Prosecutor’s Office, in Russia 62% of suicides among adolescents are associated with family conflicts and general distress, conflicts with teachers, classmates, friends, and also with the fear of violence by adults and callousness of others. From a report on the topic from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the increase in the number of suicides “occurs in times of economic crisis and sharp social change.” For example, in Russia there was an increase the number of suicides from 1987 to 1994, when the USSR collapsed. As soon as the company adapted to its new socio-economic conditions, the number of suicides stabilized.”

This actually also opens up a very serious problem that is probably being ignored over the hype of these “secret chat apps”. Why are teens and children gravitating to these to share their feelings and have conversations?

Fear should run down your spine because girls from 6 years of age are body and image conscious and dieting according to the Journal of Adolescent Health UK.

Also according to Young Minds UK one in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder –around three children in every class.

These are not related to Western or developed countries, because of the Internet accessibility worldwide even 3rd world countries are showing serious signs of children mental disorders and suicides. According to the World Health Organization “the burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally. A World Health Assembly resolution passed in May 2013 has called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at country level.”

The main agenda should be to focus on the well being of children. They need secure and a healthy environment for their upbringing. However it is not that possible to have the parents or their extended families carry these responsibilities. The Government needs to step up the mental health policies and childcare. Even if the United States has that set up then why is there such a significant rise of suicides in children and mental disorders with the young ones? It is also about sharing culture and maintaining grassroots parenting. This is a vicious generation cycle, which will probably take another generation to fix. The danger is that technology is moving faster than we can control it or us.



Posted by on August 25, 2017 in Uncategorized


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The Blue Whale Challenge That Killed Kids, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 26th May 2017

Child Playing Video Game Courtesy Digital Spy UK

Child Playing Video Game Courtesy Digital Spy UK

A long time ago, actually a very long time ago, children played with so many games that did not include looking like zombies in front of a screen. From marbles, cricket, hop scotch, hide & seek and so many others, children ran, fell, smiled, cried, won, lost and explored new places literally physically. According to Research Company based in the US, The NPD Group, 91% of the American children aged 2017 played video games, up 13% from 2009. 85% or more of these video games contain some form of violence and while Pokémon Go looks nicer, it puts the player in a battle position.

Luckily some good news is that gaming with sports toys for kids between 2-5 has also seen a significant rise.

According to the American Psychological Association policy statement of 2015, it notes that the media has often cited the playing of violent video games as s potential contributor to acts of mass homicide. This can be seen as early as in 1999, to the most recent Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012. Unfortunately while children are playing these games, recently a young man behind the Blue Whale Challenge has pleaded guilty to creating the disgusting suicidal game. Philipp Budeikin is 21 years old and was arrested in St Petersburg for the game that has killed over 100 teenagers in Russia. This game also claimed the life of young 16-year-old Jamie Njenga in Limuru. The altar boy did not what waited for him at the end of the 50-day challenge with this game.

This sick game was designed whereby each day the player receives daily tasks and they have 50 days to complete them. On the 50th day the manipulators have you in their grasp and then instruct the child to commit suicide. Each task may involve self-harm, waking up at unusual hours, watching horror movies and do scary extreme other things. The important thing to appreciate unfortunately in this tragic situation is that, it has brought out the topic of child self-harm, depression and suicide around the world in a splash. Children at home, school and anywhere and everywhere are talking about it, asking questions and parents, caregivers and teachers are also participating in this mega serious discussion. How come, with all the Angry Birds or Peppa Pig, why are kids still in such a scary space?

This is their big cry for help. They need to be listened, helped and proven that this is a happy world and that there are good people. According to statistics by the National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment in the US:

  • Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention- 4%, Peer intervention- 11% and no intervention is 85%
  • Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious, with less self-esteem and require more mental health services throughout life
  • 1 million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyber bullying on Facebook in 2016.
  • Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14 and in most cases, they do it by hanging.
  • When teens see others being mean or cruel on social networks, frequently 55% see other people just ignoring what is going on, 27% see others defending the victim, 20% see others telling the offender to stop, and 19% see others join in on the harassment.

Thus, this is a collective effort. Children need our help, from parents, grand parents, cousins, teachers, community leaders and almost anyone. They are the most vulnerable in the society. Also it is a bigger wake up call for the bullies. What is motivating them? Believe it or not some actually do it for entertainment purposes or because they are bored. Humanity is in a big fix, maybe only a mega intervention either divine or Armageddon will put us on a fresh start.

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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


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