During our early days of school, one of the very first proverb we were taught in our English lessons was ‘All that glitters is not gold’. But nobody ever added to it that all that glitters surely entices too. In today’s age, our lives have been infused with influence of heavy bucks and technology that the materialistic temptations arising from them seem to have no end. Add to that the futile importance we grant to social media in all translates to exceedingly negative impact on the minds of the teenagers and those just on the edge of adulthood. Such is the power of social media that once you notice something relatable or eye catchy, you must explore it further otherwise it just keeps popping in your head or in your timelines. And once this online entity becomes popular, then the wave which it creates sweeps many uncertain and confused minds with it.
One such bane of the internet has been a suicidal ‘game’ called The Blue Whale where in the participant is given a specific number of tasks which sound gross enough for a person to carry them out and the last task of the game involves the person to commit suicide and thereby win the game and lose his or her life. The game is named after the act of the Blue Whale which involves drifting ashore and staying in absence of water thus beaching itself. First, instead of calling it a game it is better calling it an ‘Psycho challenge’ because a game like this not only throws one’s mental balance into disarray but someone already suffering with a chaotic condition of mind cannot necessarily fight off the negative vibes this challenge brings with it and hence falls prey to it. The suspected creator and administrator of the game who was arrested in Russia claimed that he thought of the victims of his creation as ‘Biological Waste’ and he was “Cleansing the society’ without any feelings of guilt because all those who ended their lives were ‘Happy to die’ according to him. Such a convoluted mind should be given immediate medical attention so that his apparent view of seeing himself as a God for all his victims could come to rest. It is said that there are many other such deadly syndicates still operating in Russia which lure chronically depressed and other curious people who want to get a hang of such a challenge into their well laid out schemes and entrap them so bad into this sickening activity they call a ‘game’, that the only way out of it is by sacrificing yourself.
Whether all the reported suicides have been occurring due to this challenge or not has still not reached any conclusions, but the other important topic arising from it is the reason behind depressed people getting attracted to such a challenge quicker than anyone else. Let’s just take the example of an average Indian household where it can fairly be assumed that for such folks the idea of depression is like what God is to an Atheist. If we talk about today’s kids there upbringing has been in such a competitive environment that according to their guardians there is apparently no time for depression to creep inside their fatigued minds. The idea of disappointing their parents and falling behind in the rat race of success is not the only reason that effects their mind and heart. Other reasons include social anxiety and being a subject to abusive behaviour, again thanks to our social media the chances of these happening increase exponentially. The same can be said about the teenagers in a larger context of the world because after suffering from such lacerating experiences, when they fear they can turn to no one, such online groups of likeminded depressed people seem like a blessing in disguise to them because in such groups they have a voice of their own and they feel the freedom to express themselves freely as anyone would in a real world. They become addicted to such a utopian society and are willing to do anything which is demanded from them to be a part of this society, and in some cases, are unwittingly ready to give up their own lives too. There are also speculations of them being threatened by the administrators with the lives of their loved ones if they ever want to back out of the game, but again no concrete evidence is present to support or refute the argument.
Finally, to keep the menace of such challenges at bay and curb their effect on the younger ones we need to talk openly about the ill effects and dangers such challenges hold. Many Indian households are embracing the idea of speaking about depression freely and they should rightly do so because never can an illness be underrated by any means, how much ever small or insignificant it might look in anyone’s eyes. Even a fortuitous conversation with someone caught up a dispirited state of mind might help the person in ways we cannot even imagine of. Strengthening the heart and voice of such a person who requires help and making him speak out without any qualms might be the only thing needful to restore their normalcy and help them revert to a calm and elated state of mind. Never let someone be manipulated with anti-social thoughts or ideas and whenever possible help in discarding the social anxieties of your near and dear ones so that FOMO (Fear of missing out) of anything does not become a deadly element in their later lives. The only possible way we can weed out threats like Blue Whale in our society is by embracing the sense of equality and compassion in both our real and virtual worlds. Let’s try and make this world devoid of any tales which includes such killer whales.