The madness surrounding social media’s Blue Whale Challenge, that originated in Russia, has claimed a teenager’s life in Mumbai. It is being speculated that the suicide is India’s first case of death linked to this absurd game.
Fascinated by the game, 14-year-old Manpreet Sahans went up to the terrace of his Andheri East and sat on the parapet for over 20 minutes speaking to his friends on social media. He also shared with them his intentions of committing suicide. Unfortunately, everyone thought it was just a joke.
A police officer told India Today, “A person from another building saw Manpreet sitting on the parapet and kept asking him to get down. Manpreet even took a selfie with the person from where he was sitting and posted it on the social media group. He told his friends that one person was stopping him from committing suicide and that he would jump once he goes down.”
The person even tried to avert the tragedy by trying to stop him, but Manpreet jumped down from the terrace when he saw the person coming his way. He was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead.
His parents told India Today that they had noticed sudden changes in his behaviour for the past few days but they didn’t expect him to take such a drastic step.
It has also been found that he was browsing the net for finding ways to jump off the terrace.
Mumbai Police has given an advisory to all parents in the city to be careful with their children. Mumbai Police said, “Parents are in a state of shock. Two people watched boy jumping from terrace. We advise people to look after their children and keep tabs on their behaviour.”
The fatal game originated in Russia and has become a reason for many teenagers to commit suicide. It gives players a series of 50 quests, with the final task asking them to commit suicide. The game also asks players to document the completion of each task in the form of photographs.
The players are supposed to send the evidence of their completion to the game’s administrator who then qualifies them to attempt the next task. The tasks are a mix of harmless and harmful ones.
For the final task, players are directed to jump off a terrace building and document the final act in the form of photos/video as well.
An augmented and unsupervised use of phones is a great cause of worry for parents and teachers.
Mohua Gupta, editor and mother of two young children, says, “The Blue Whale game suicide incident is shocking to say the least. As the mother of a 6-and-half-year-old and a toddler and living in a nuclear family, I know that mobile phones are a necessary evil. We do monitor what the kids are watching on youtube or the games being downloaded. But I can’t say how watchful I will be once they are a little older.”
Talking about the remedies she uses to keep her children engaged in productive activities, she adds, “I try to introduce my elder one to different activities to curtail the time she spends watching videos. I am hoping she will develop interests and hobbies that will take up her time instead of being addicted to smartphones.”
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