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Blue Whale Challenge: 11 ways parents can keep their children safe online

There have been several reports of people being encouraged to commit suicide by following the Blue Whale challenge. Here is what a Unicef India report says:

india Updated: Aug 31, 2017 19:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Blue Whale Challenge,Blue Whale game,Blue Whale suicide
A 19-year-old college student who committed suicide in Madurai -- possibly the first suspected victim of the ‘Blue Whale’ challenge in Tamil Nadu -- wrote in a note: “Blue Whale is not a game but danger and once entered, you can never exit”.(Representative image/Stock photo)

There have been several reports of people being encouraged to commit suicide by following a list of challenges.

A 19-year-old college student who committed suicide in Madurai -- possibly the first suspected victim of the ‘Blue Whale’ challenge in Tamil Nadu -- wrote in a note: “Blue Whale is not a game but danger and once entered, you can never exit”.

Here are 11 tips in a Unicef India report on how you can keep your child safe online:

1. Having correct information about an issue is extremely important. The media reports on this issue do not make it clear that the role of this game/challenge in the recent cases of suicide has not been verified yet. Your child probably knows about the Blue Whale Challenge because of the media frenzy around this issue.

Having said that, due to the uncertainty around this issue, there is a need to take certain measures to inform children and interact with them to avoid any mishaps.

2. Make sure that your child has access to age appropriate online sites which do not promote unethical behaviour or violence.

3. Always ensure that your child accesses internet from a computer placed in the family space.

4. Talk to your child more often. Explore the online world together and engage in interesting activities demonstrating ethical and safe online behaviour.

5. Use parental controls on all the devices used by your child. Monitor the screen time and keep an eye on his/her online activities.

6. Be a role model to your child. Be conscious of your own online activities.

7. Talk to other parents, share concerns if any and discuss best ways to help your children.

8. Keep yourself updated with recent internet phenomena.

9. Observe your child’s behaviour closely. Be alert to any unusual changes like moodiness, less or no communication, lack of interest in studies and falling grades. If you notice any such changes, closely monitor his/her online activities, talk to school authorities or consult a child psychologist.

10. If you find out that your child is already playing the Blue Whale Challenge, immediately stop him/her from using the internet from any devices.

11. Inform your local police authority about what has happened and seek their advice on the next safety measures.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 19:15 IST