The appearance of a case related to controversial Blue Whale game in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh has sounded the alarmed among the parents. A 12-years-old boy was luckily rescued after his parents discovered signs of self-mutilation on his hand.
So far, Himachal Watcher refrained from covering the Blue Whale Phenomenon as we felt bound by the ethics of reporting news relating to suicide. The news channels and dailies did what exactly the creator of this concept wanted from them – creating more curiosity in vulnerable subjects through sensational coverage. Numerous stories were published using some sensational images showing a whale drenched in blood or something like that.
From our sources, we were told that schools are implementing the advisory in a haphazard manner which is doing nothing else but to create more curiosity among children, especially teens.
Until now, the awareness about mental health and relevance of trained counselors were entirely missing from schools as a necessity to deal with complex teenage issues. For instance, not many of us are aware that the World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 is observed on September 10 every year to create necessary awareness. There is a reason why the world needed to dedicate a special day to attend to the issue. It’s preventable.
So, we feel obliged to take part in the debate to introduce some more aspects.
First of all, it is not exactly a game that can be downloaded and installed in devices. Bullying and pressurizing participants to complete the task are major parts of this concept. The participants receive a link through one of the social media. As suggested by some tech-forums, the participants are asked to accept a cookie that allows the curator to access entire data of the device being used by the participant.
Secondly, Blue Whale is not the only name by which this concept has spread to the social media. The same concept is being adapted under different names. There could be a number of such groups.
After several incidents in some parts of India, the appearance of a case related to controversial Blue Whale game in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh has sounded the alarmed among the parents. A 12-years-old boy was luckily rescued after his parents discovered signs of self-mutilation on his hand.
The boy said he wanted to quit the game but he could not. He received threats from the curator or the admin. The boy said the curator warned him that if he doesn’t accomplish the tasks assigned, his parents or family members would be harmed.
The fear was instilled so strongly in the victim child that he did not dare to speak to his parents.
The disclosure by the rescued boy that more of his friends are hooked to this lethal challenge has sent waves of panic among parents. At the same time, media reporting is fueling curiosity in masses. The advisories issued to children and their parents by the police and the schools are also doing the same.
People, government, and web experts are feeling helpless against this psychological trap of the ‘deep web’. The psychologists are suggesting the curators does not pick up its prey randomly, but from a targeted section that is more vulnerable. Apart from access to the digital world, the mental health of teens requires close attention here.
Now, the government of India is issuing advisories in the schools asking them to create awareness against the suicidal game. The government has connected to the social media sites asking them to act and take preventive measures. In fact, social media sites are working on it as the number of cases reported is now in three figures.
However, the parents and schools are required to pay more attention to the psychology behind the concept that is believed to have originated from Russia. A Russian man was reportedly convicted for inventing the concept or spreading it to suicide groups. Recently, another curator, a Russian girl, was reportedly arrested.
Psychology behind the concept
It sounds stupid and unbelievable that a person could convince or control someone through a psychological manipulation or through threats to complete abnormal tasks and end his/her life by the time the series of task reaches its final stage. In India, psychology has not received the amount of attention it deserves in the society. Even most costly or prestigious schools do not have a regular counselor, which supports the aforesaid statement.
Majority of experts in the field of psychology suggest not all children or teens are vulnerable to this threat. The teenage period is marked by high-risk taking behavior. The experts also link it with poor mental health, depression, and pre-existing tendencies towards self-destruction or inclination to harm one’s own self. Teens with depression, low-esteem, identity conflicts, emotional breakups, and those with traumatic experiences including child abuse are more prone to fall victim to this game, say experts.
Sadly, schools are not providing professional counselors, who could prove much better in observing these indicators in a child during school hours as well as creating awareness among other teachers and parents. There is a huge difference between the role of a teacher and that of a trained, skilled psychologist.
Children, especially teens go through tremendous behavioral changes during teenage- a natural process. Teenagers strive to establish their individual identity in their friend circle. They tend to assess their importance in their circle. Introverts and those with low-esteem or low level of achievements often face an identity crisis
, said Ranjana Sharma, a scholar pursuing her research related to the “Quality of Life” from Department of Himachal Pradesh University.
It sounds impractical for teachers to attend to each individual student in their class or identify such cases. Moreover, we must accept that the new generation gets hooked to electronic devices like mobiles and the Internet from a tender age. Their exposure and access to the world are far greater than the previous generation,
she said adding,
This exposure requires to be channelized through proper guidance as it is impractical to put a complete check on it.
Nowadays, the teens are more tech-savvy than their parents, which makes it difficult for parents to monitor what exactly their children doing on their smartphones and laptops, she added.
The description of the Blue Whale concept, methods, and design of tasks suggest enhancing already existing tendencies by creating an illusion that someone is being part of something daring. The participants are first conditioned to follow an abnormal routine like waking up at odd hours (between 2 AM to 4 AM), watching depressing videos sent by the curator, climbing up a building, to stand on the edge of the roof, or listen to gloomy music tracks at a particular time.
A survivor said he was asked to go to the graveyard at 2 PM and send a selfie as evidence that task was completed. Self-inflicted injuries are given a form of an act of punishing oneself, suggest psychologists.
The best prevention here appears to be giving more time to your children, at least enough to observe changes in their behavior, if any. The advisories are asking parents to reach a counselor if they observe symptoms like isolation, withdrawal from routine activities, and a decrease in the time that their children used to spend with them or the appetite.
If a child is already an introvert, then it must be ensured that he gets more time from parents to express his emotions. A friendly relationship would help bridge the communication gap between the teens and their parents.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Nod to Hamirpur medical college admissions to 100 seats and Motor Vehicle Act amendment
Shimla: The Cabinet of Himachal Pradesh Government, in a meeting, held on June 13, 2018. In this meeting, the Cabinet gave its nod to admitting 100 students to Dr Radha Krishanan Medical College, Hamirpur from academic session 2018-19.
With this, six medical colleges have become functional in the State with each college having admission capacity of 100 students, said the Cabinet.
The Cabinet also decided to restrict the quota of NRI seats in order to provide more merit-based admissions.
It accorded nod to engage 100 posts of Accountant-cum-Support Staff and 30 posts of Data Entry Operators at block level under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.
The Cabinet approved the guidelines to start ‘Akhand Shiksha Jyoti, Mere School Se Nikle Moti, as per the ‘Swarnima Himachal Drishti Patra’ to honour pass out students from the government schools who had made a mark in their life. Under this scheme, names of such personalities would be inscribed on the display board of concerned schools.
The Cabinet also approved an amendment in Rule-69A of Motor Vehicle Act, 1999 for rationalization of fee structure for contract carriages from other States. The government is expected to hike the tax paid by the carriage vehicles entering into Himachal from other states.
The Cabinet also decided to enhance the honorarium of part-time Water Carriers working on contract basis in Education Department from Rs. 1900 to Rs. 2200 from April 1, 2018.
Nauni Varsity all set for entrance exam with 50% reservation for rural Govt school students
Solan: This year, over 5600 students from all over Himachal Pradesh will appear in the entrance test for three undergraduate programmes of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni.
The entrance test for admission to B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry and B Tech Biotechnology programmes will be held on June 16 at 11:00 am at four cities in Himachal.
The test is being held to fill up 150 seats including 58 reserved seats for various categories in the three constituent colleges of the university. The admission in these courses under the self-financed mode is open till June 30 (without late fee).
At Solan, the test centres have been established at College of Forestry and College of Horticulture at the University campus and at Government Degree College, Solan.
In Palampur, the test will be held at KLB DAV College for Girls. In Sundernagar, the test venues will be Polytechnic College, Jawaharlal Nehru Government Engineering College and Government Senior Secondary School (Boys).
The Government Degree College, Hamirpur and UHF’s College of Horticulture and Forestry, Neri, will be the test venues at Hamirpur.
The university has followed an online system for applying to various courses run by the university at Nauni and Neri. The admit cards were auto-generated once an applicant finished his online application process. The students who have not yet downloaded the admit card can do so from their email addresses also, as a copy of it has been mailed on it,
said Rajesh Kumar, Registrar of the University.
The university has also set up a helpline number 01792 252009 on which the student can contact regarding their queries. The helpline service will be operational from 10 am to 5 pm. O On the day of the test day, it will be active from 8:00 am onwards. The students have also been advised to reach the examination venue before 10:15 am.
Increased seats for wards of Defence personnel
From this academic session, the university has also doubled the reserved seats for wards of serving and retired Defence and Central Armed Police personnel wanting to pursue higher studies in Horticulture and Forestry from the university.
The total number of reserved seats for such students in all disciplines has now gone up to 14.
In addition, the university from the last academic session has reserved 50 percent seats in its undergraduate programme for the students of Government Schools located in rural areas of Himachal
Any student who has completed any two of the three examinations (8th, 10th or 12th) from any government school located in the rural areas of Himachal is eligible for seats under this category.
76 Nauni Varsity students qualify ICAR NET this year
Solan: As many as 76 postgraduate students of Nauni based Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry have qualified the Indian Council for Agricultural Research National Eligibility Test (ICAR NET), thereby establishing the university’s position among the top agricultural universities in the country.
Out of the total, 58 students are from the College of Horticulture while 19 students are from the College of Forestry of the university. This number has seen a jump over the last year’s figure when 68 students from the university had cleared the exam.
This is a great achievement for us. The increase in the number of students clearing the national examination strengthens our resolve to excel in the field of education and confirms our position among the top agricultural universities of the country,
said UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma, Deans and faculty of the University.
The students who have qualified the NET examination will be eligible for the selection to the post of Assistant Professors in various agricultural universities in the country.
The selected students belong to varied streams like Forest Products, Soil Science, Silviculture and Agroforestry, Basic Sciences, Environmental Science, Fruit Science, Floriculture and Landscape Architecture, Entomology, Vegetable Science, Biotechnology, Seed Science, Social Sciences, Plant Pathology and Management Sciences.
Over the years, the students of the university have performed well at the state and national level examinations. In addition, many of the students have gone on to occupy top positions in national and international organizations and companies.
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