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.