With dare-based games becoming a popular phenomenon, the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ is becoming a bigger cause of worry. In the context, are parents keeping a close watch of their children’s online activities?
Anubha Srivastava, a lawyer and mother to 16-year-old Ananya and 13-year-old Anant, says her children understand the risk of downloading such games and applications. “When I sat down to discuss the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, they assured me that they wouldn’t play the game ever,” she says.
Children are often prone to such risks when there isn’t someone watching them. “Children also get involved in such ‘projects’ to prove their parents wrong. I have told my children that if they see any schoolmates discussing the game or playing it, they should report it to the school authorities. If you see anyone in such a situation, make them understand that asking for help from parents or people around is alright,” she adds.
Lack of attention from parents can lead to children getting involved in such activities. Dr Debmita Dutta, a parenting consultant, says, “Reasoning it out with a teenager can help them understand the situation better. Whenever my 11-year-old daughter Noyonika wants to be added to a new WhatsApp group, I ask her about how useful it would be for her. We weigh the pros and cons and she understands. When I discussed about the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ with her, I was glad to hear that she had no interest whatsoever,” she says.
She feels that today’s children are prone to spending way too much time on online games.
“Teenagers are at an age where they want challenges. They want to overcome difficulties and prove that they are capable of doing things. Teenagers nowadays turn to challenges like these because parents have made their lives too easy. When the young ones see no challenges in real life, they seek such challenges in the virtual world,” she adds.
Dhannya Sreekumar, founder of a startup and mother of two-and-a-half year old Simran, says, “Involving young ones in outdoor activities and keeping them aware of the need to tell their parents everything is a must.” For Reema Rangnath, a homemaker and mother to 14-year-old Rohan, it was a relief that her son was aware about the game and was open to talking about it. “I’ve always left the communication channels open for him and he’s honest about whatever he does. As a mother, I make it a point to keep a watch on what he is doing. He also knows that if he is in a difficult situation, his father and I would always stand by him,” she says.