A ‘BUDDY policy’, and asking parents to sync their phone with that of their child’s are among measures city schools are suggesting in the wake of the Blue Whale menace. Teachers in all the schools have been asked to observe any unusual behaviour among students and report it to the counsellor and parents.
All schools are on alert after the parents of 16-year-old Karan Thakur claimed that their son died while performing tasks of the Blue Whale game, but each has devised different ways to caution children and parents, particularly. Santosh Bhandari, principal of the Sky World School in Sector 21, Panchkula, stated that they have started with the “buddy policy”.
“We have introduced the concept of class buddy, bus buddy and a buddy reader. Class buddies and buddy readers are two children who will always sit together in the class and bus buddies will also sit together daily in the bus. During counselling sessions, buddies will be guided about their roles and they will be told that they are instrumental in ensuring the welfare of their buddy and they will be encouraged to think about their buddy’s welfare beyond themselves,” she said.
Bhandari said that a class buddy’s role is to keep an eye on the buddy, and inform the teacher of any unusual conduct, say if the buddy does not return within five minutes from washroom. “Also, if they feel or come to know that their buddy is surfing some risky web portals, they are to immediately report it to the teacher, their parents or the buddy’s parents,” the policy states. Also, from time to time circulars are being issued to the parents suggesting that they should sync their phone with their children’s phone to keep a track on the activities their children do on their mobile, other than spending time with the children.
Strawberry Fields School, Sector 26, Chandigarh has told the parents to monitor the online activities of the children and at the same time, interact more and more with the kids. Atul Khanna, director of the school, said, “For children, it is just a counselling session but parents are regularly being sensitised to the perils of these online games.”
DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, where Karan was studying is carrying out frisking of students’ bags to ensure there is no mobile phone. Principal Vibha Ray said that regularly at the gate, four teachers have been asked to check if any student is carrying a mobile phone. Accordingly, parents are informed. Principal of The Gurukul in Sector 20, Harsimran Kaur said that they are not discussing it with the students as they don’t want them to check out for the game out of curiosity.
Messages have been sent out to parents to keep a watch on what games the children are playing. “We are urging the parents to monitor what games their wards are playing on the mobile. In the school as well if we get any information about any child even talking about this deadly game , the counsellor is immediately asked to counsel that child and the child’s parents are alerted too. We dread anyone trying it out even out of curiosity or as a challenge,” Harsimran Kaur said.