It’s been given both praise and criticism for it’s exploration of issues regarding teenage depression and suicidal behavior. While some like that it’s opening up a discussion, others fear it glamorizes suicide.
And now in addition to warnings about that show, parents are being warned of a viral new self-harm “game” that ends in the suicide of its players that has been gaining momentum online, especially among teenagers the Blue Whale Suicide Challenge.
It encourages young participants to complete specific tasks over the course of fiftydays, and the challenges range from waking up during the night to cutting shapes into their skin.
According to some reports, the “curators’” target players ranging from tento fourteen years old and require that they send photos back as proof as they complete each step. On the final day of the challenge, kids are reportedly prompted to kill themselves.
According to reports, the 11th step involves carving a whale into their skin and should serve as a major sign to parents.
Investigators in Russia believe this social media trend is linked to the death of 130teens, and police in Britain are issuing warnings among fears that the trend is spreading globally.
Part of it is the need to fit in, to be a part of the pack, to be appreciated to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The last thing a teen wants is to be excluded, said Justin Patchin, co-director of the Wisconsin-based Cyberbullying Research Center. Even if no one else is doing it yet, they think maybe its a way to get likes, followers, recognition if they take this risk.
Whether or not the Blue Whale is true, advises adolescent psychologist Barbara Greenberg, This should not be referred to as a game.”
“Basically, what happens is that depressed kids are led to believe that they are playing a game when in fact they are dealing with mental health issues.
But don’t panic quite yet, as there are things that parents can do, according to Patchin.
Be in the conversation with your kids: Who are they communicating with? Having the kind of dialogue where they want to show you the disturbing things they see online, rather than hide them, is what to aim for.
Look for changes in technology usage: Either wanting nothing to do with it or getting very upset at time limits. Also, it’s a sign if they are less forthcoming about whats going on online.
Bottom line, they’ll probablyfind out about disturbing trends before adults. So routinely have these conversations about whats going on online, he said.