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Risky Online Games - Child in the Web of Internet

Child in the Web of Internet – Risky Online Games

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.

Survey Findings.

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.

Some Examples

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.

Choking Game

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.

The Root Cause

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:-

  • Immature Brain of Children

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.

  • Adventure loving. These children love to dare to do anything for which they are challenged. They are outspoken and very active on social media.
  • Loners/Back-benchers. These type of children get a sense of self-pride or vindication by playing these games and prove their capability to unknown world.
  • The Missing Family Environment
  • Most of us are no longer a part of joint family where every child grows under care of elders.
  • In most cases, especially in urban areas, both parents are working and have little time for their children

Preventive Actions

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:

  • Spend time with children:  Whatever busy schedule you have, ensure that you have enough time to spend with your children. You must have at least the dinner together. Dinner table is the best place to develop atmosphere of friendly talk and observe behavior of child. Even if you observe some behavioral changes and remain composed. Observe the following behavioral changes:
  • Aggressiveness or submissiveness,
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Sudden liking for Horror shows in TV/Internet
  • Looking for lonely corners while talking to someone or working on mobile/computers
  • Switching off the screen of computer on sudden entry of family members
  • Sudden change in tone while talking to someone over mobile
  • Hidden cut mark on body, blood stains on cloths etc
  • Sudden drop in performance report of school
  • Meet school teacher. Share your worry with the class teacher and check in case the child has shown some behavioral changes such as skipping the classes, aggression with friends, quality of homework and performance in exams etc.
  • Listen:  Avoid preaching them. Encourage them to tell you their day story or experience. Don’t question them and listen to their concerns and their experiences.  Any anger or displeasure shown by you may shut down the conversation and make them reluctant to talk about what’s bothering them.
  • Help them practice ways of pulling out:  Once they open up, appreciate them for sharing their experience with you. Act as a valuable friend by rehearsing with them how to say NO and pull out of the game.

Conclusion:

Blaming Internet, Government inaction and social media will not work. Parents and other family members can play important role in saving their children from such risky online games.

Reference:

  1.  

https://www.amazon.in/Stories-Cyber-Crime-Protection-Mantra/dp/1684666023#:~:text=%E2%80%9CStories%20on%20Cyber%20Crime%20and,in%20the%20era%20of%20Internet.&text=This%20book%20has%20the%20answer,the%20routine%20cyber%20crime%20protection.

2.

https://weseso.org/save-children-from-cyber-predators/

 

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