I am writing this blog for the parents, and grandparents who have school-going children to help their children in ensuring their safety in the web of Internet.
Many surveys worldwide suggest that almost every school-going child, especially in the age group of 10-17 has presence in the world of Internet. A survey conducted by Indian Telecom Company Telenor among Indian school going children is worth mentioning here. As per this survey, around 90% percent of school-going children have access to the internet in urban areas and nearly 43 percent of them access the internet via smartphones. Though most of them are looking for information for their school projects, they also encounter many advertisements, pop-up messages that increase their curiosity towards undesirable things on internet. Eventually, they get attracted to may popular social media, risky online games etc. and become victim of cyber crime. Their tendency of keeping up with trends in social media further adds to their vulnerability online.
One of the most undesirable but most attractive things that these children encounter is the Online Games. Some of the games are just for time pass and few of them are healthy brain games too. But the games that challenge the children for doing daring things are very risky online games.
Blue Whale. This horrifyingly dangerous game has been the cause of death of over 200 teens across the world including India. The game assigns daily tasks to players, which they have to complete over 50 days. The tasks include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, but these gradually get more extreme. Every task challenges the ‘self’ of the child. On the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game ‘test the mental strength’ of the youngsters by challenging him to some act like jumping from high-rise building and commit suicide.
Cutting Challenge. This game makes teenagers cut themselves on some body part, click pictures of the injuries, and upload these online. Deliberate mutilation of one’s body suddenly becomes a daring act – youngsters think they are part of a ‘daring’ group after participating in this challenge.
The Salt and Ice Challenge
In this challenge game, teenagers put salt on their skin and place ice over it. As the salt reduces the temperature of ice to drastically low, it causes severe burn and frostbites. The players film these acts and have to show how they outdid their peers.
This online ‘game’ was designed to achieve euphoria of ‘returning from death’. In this game teenagers were told to strangle themselves until they are close to death and stop just in time so that they can experience the ‘high’ of regaining consciousness.
Though many people blame the Governments for inability to govern the Internet and monitor the criminals, actually the root cause lies within our own families. Internet is sea of information, both good and bad. It is up to us on how to make our children make aware of the bad things and create an atmosphere of help and concern. We need to understand the following two aspects to prevent our children from risky online games:-
Children have immature brain full of curiosity. They are very inquisitive about the unknown ambiences. They love to experiment without worrying about the consequences. There are two types of children who are more likely to fall prey to such risky online games.
Parents have the most important role to play in saving their children from the effects of risky online games. The have to be more vigilant on the behavioural changes intheir children. Some of the points to note are: