Blue Whale challenge? Mumbai boy spoke of suicide, friends thought it was a joke
The Blue Whale challenge, an online game reported to have caused a wave of suicides in Russia and elsewhere, is difficult to track and hunt downUpdated: Aug 01, 2017, 11:44 IST
A 14-year-old boy who allegedly killed himself on Saturday had told his friends that he would not be attending school from Monday.
Sunny Valia, a friend, said all his friends knew that he was playing the Blue Whale game. “He had in fact told them that he was going to commit suicide, but they thought he was joking,” said Valia.
The Blue Whale challenge is difficult to track and hunt down. There is nothing much the government or police can do to stop the spread of the Blue Whale challenge, said gamers and IT experts.
Moreover, since the players share their personal phone numbers and email addresses, the developers keep using different psychological tactics to get them back by sending mails and messages.
Schools officials, who spoke to students, said the teenager was an avid gamer and had been talking about going to Russia since past two years.
“Students said he was addicted to games, but we don’t know for sure if it was the Blue Whale challenge. We are angry inside. This isn’t a way to throw away your life when your parents have done everything to ensure a comforting life for you,” said a teacher.
The boy’s teachers said that he was a brilliant student, behaved well, had a pleasant personality and a lot of friends.
Cybercrime expert Vijay Ram Mukhi stressed on need of vigilance among parents, rather than blaming the game which is almost impossible to stop.
“The police can try tracing the circulation links, but they will only be wasting their time because the game has been possibly pulled off popular search engines. When I tried looking for it, I couldn’t find the download links and then I realised that the links are basically shared in Russian or Chinese languages so the search engines with servers in India can’t locate them,” said Mukhi.
“The game has caused deaths across the world and people believe it originated in Russia, but I don’t think anybody can confirm it. Developers of the game, using their servers in China or Russia and through chat groups or gaming forums, circulate the link amongst the teenagers who are already suffering from suicidal tendencies and brainwash them into harming themselves and take their life,” said Mukhi.
When asked how teenagers are able to download the game or access it through social media, experts said that their familiarity with foreign gamers and international chat forums is what makes them vulnerable. “There are people I know who learnt Chinese because they want to download latest movies,” Mukhi added.