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Playgrounds needed to save children from killer game

  By Vijay Darda | 28-08-2018

The internet game known as Blue Whale Challenge has perturbed the world and India is not untouched too!

It is believed that the blue whale comes to the seashore to die or commit suicide. In the name of this blue whale, a Russian student Philipp Budeikin has created the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ game. This game comprises 50 challenges. The player has to complete a task every day. There are strange tasks, right from climbing a crane to running a knife or blade on their hands and feet.

Although this game was created and uploaded on the internet in 2013, it drew the attention of the world in 2015 when cases of children’s death started coming out. In 2016, 16 Russian girls committed suicide while completing the game and rocked the world. Philipp was arrested after a meticulous investigation. He told the police that he was a student of psychology but was expelled after he could not to do well. Following this, he created this game.

Today the situation is such that children have ended their lives while completing the tasks given in this game, in many countries of the world including Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Italy, Kenya, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, America and Europe. India too is no exception. On July 30 this year, a 14-year-old child in Mumbai jumped to death from a high-rise building. On August 10, a class VII student in Indore was about to leap from the third floor of the school when he was caught by other school children.

On August 10, the police saved a 14-year-old boy in Maharashtra. He had left for Pune by bus to complete the final task of the game. On August 12, a class X student of Midnapore in West Bengal committed suicide. Even in Dehradun, a child was about to end life when he was saved. In all these cases, the child’s classmates informed that the child was involved in completing the challenges of internet games.

After such cases started surfacing in the country, the Indian government got alarmed and asked Google, Facebook and Yahoo to remove all related links to the Blue Whale game with immediate effect. The National Child Rights Protection Commission also appealed to the teachers and guardians to keep an eye on the behaviour of their children. Other countries across the world also got alert.

To fight this Blue Whale game in Brazil, a group has developed a ‘Punk Whale’ game in which positive tasks are given. But the point in question is why such a situation has arisen in the first instance? I believe that parents are also responsible for this to a great extent. I would like to give the example of South Korea where more than 80 per cent of the children have got trapped in the internet games in such a way that they do not know the outside world.

They do not even know the children in their neighbourhood. Such children are becoming victims of psychological disorders. And therefore, a campaign is now being undertaken for such children in South Korea and they are being introduced to the games of playground. The situation is that the campaign will take many years to succeed.

As far as our country is concerned, the biggest problem is that children are being strongly influenced by western living. They are greatly attracted to Hollywood films and internet games. The reason for this is that parents do not pay attention to children. They do not encourage children to play physical games. They think that the child is busy on the computer and is not bothering them. They do not understand that this situation of comfort is creating a big crisis for the future. They do not even like their children to go to the playground and come back home with clothes stained with soil!

When we used to be students, outdoor games used to be part of the curriculum which was strictly followed. Even today, the school time table includes playing sports. There are sports periods, but the moot question is how many schools have playgrounds? Everything happens on paper, but the reality is different. The Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports Vijay Goel himself has admitted that there are no playgrounds in 6,50,000 schools in the country. Actually, our governments are so indifferent about sports that there is no synergy between the Centre and the state. The availability of the playground is considered to be the responsibility of the state government.

Although a committee has been set up to link sports and physical education to school education and develop a course related to it, all of us know how many days it takes for the report of our committees to come and what happens to that report! The reality is that if the children are to be weaned away from the internet games, they will have to be given an option.

Firstly, playgrounds will have to be made available. Similarly, the children will have to be educated that playing in the field will keep their body fit, develop their brain, enhance their social skills, help them focus and learn teamwork, besides increasing their resistance power. After all, the glory of victory is also achieved by playing in the field.

Before I conclude…

I salute the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) which saved the lives of thousands of people during the floods in many parts of the country. The NDRF which was constituted inducting personnel and officers from the BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP and Armed Forces has done a great job in a short span of just 10 years. Whether it is earthquake or flood or any other crisis, this force achieves its goal of saving human lives and their belongings with vigour and valour.


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Playgrounds needed to save children from killer game


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