The Centre has issued an advisory terming the Blue Whale game abetment to suicide and advising all parents to watch out for any signs of distress in their children and not discuss the game with them, which might increase the chances of children searching it online.
The advisory has been issued by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology at a time when even though Blue Whale game is no longer downloadable, it is still available online and the administrator is able to reach out to the potential victims through ‘over-the-top (OTT) services’ like WhatsApp, Telegram, Wickr, Silent Circle, osTel, ChatSecure, Signal, ShareIt etc.
“Blue whale game (the suicide game) is abetment to suicide. It is understood through various internet reports that it is shared among secretive groups on social media networks. The creators seek out their players/victims who are in depression and send them an invitation to join.
“The basis of the challenge is that an anonymous “group administrator,” otherwise known as “the curator,” hands out 50 tasks to selected “players” that must be completed, documented and posted during a 50-day period. Players of the challenge can’t stop playing once they’ve started; they are blackmailed and cyber bullied into completing the game,” the advisory states.
It also lists various signs and symptoms which parents should look out for in their child like becoming withdrawn from the family, visible marks like deep cuts or wounds on the body etc.
It also suggests ways to protect children from getting involved in the Blue Whale challenge, which includes monitoring their online activities and establishing a connection with the child.
It is to be noted that the Madras High Court had on September 12 expressed concern over the Blue Whale challenge remaining available through various secret groups.
“They (administrator/ curator) can create closed communication/chatting fora which ensure anonymity of the users. The law enforcement agencies are left in the dark as there are no communication nodes to these service providers. The administrator of this game uses any one of the aforesaid OTT services to communicate. The police are left with no clue about the administrator as well as the players,” the court had said.
The court was shocked to know that there is reportedly an 'Indian curator' for the challenge or someone with Indian victim-participation in mind.