September 2, 2017 2:32:41 am
Union Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi has written to schools across the country, asking them to take “immediate steps” to protect children from the Blue Whale challenge. In a letter dated August 31, Maneka said she had asked “the Ministry of Information Technology to find out a technological solution so that downloading of this game could be prevented”.
Expressing concern over “the incidence of children committing suicide because of the so-called Blue Whale challenge”, the letter which was issued to principals of all schools in India read, “It is sad to see young boys and girls falling victims to this self-destructive game. We all have to be extremely vigilant for our children who are becoming victims.”
The minister also listed measures which need to be taken “so that no more child becomes a victim”. While underlining the need for sensitising teachers and children on the issue, she wrote, “I am sure that if all teachers become vigilant and keep a sharp eye on the behaviour of their children, we can prevent further damage. I urge to monitor the activities of the children and to dissuade them from falling prey to such online games.”
Further, in cases where children show symptoms of being prey to the online dare game, she told schools, “In case you notice any symptom in any child in your school, please get in touch with his/her parents. You could also report these incidence on Childline at telephone number 1098, the universal telephone number, and we will also provide necessary assistance.”
Meanwhile, UNICEF India has released a document with a list of FAQs for parents on the online game. The UNICEF document elaborated on details of the game, maintaining that “participants” were “given a period of 50 days to complete each task” and they are expected to provide proof “for the curator’s approval” in the form of photographs of “undertaking the challenge”.
“Players of this game cannot stop playing because they are blackmailed and cyber bullied into completing the game. More than six children across India in the age group of 12-19 years have taken their lives allegedly playing this game within a span of two weeks,” the document stated.
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