Digital games that teach how to commit suicide!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Aug 2017 16:15:56


The Blue Whale game episode highlights one terrible social ill: It demonstrates so correctly and shockingly that the young people who play such games are quite likely to lose their minds and then many other precious things including their lives. A good number of teenage kids do not have the capacity to think calmly and decide what is right or wrong. The Hitavada Editor Vijay Phanshikar counsels that it is for this reason that the elders in the family and the society must be vigilant all along to ensure that kids are protected from uncalled for evils.


If this does not shake us as a society, then what will? Aren’t we shocked that a teenage boy took his ‘last-minute’ selfies and posted those on the FaceBook and said that his friends in school would not be able to see him in person. And, having done that, the boy jumped from a high-rise building and ended his life. That suicide was part of a ‘Blue Whale’ game he was playing late into the night in Mumbai.

One youth is gone -- down the drain of a social filth that we have allowed into our homes through dirty games on digital devices and have not cared to stop our kids from playing those. What kind of concept do we have about freedom we must grant to our children?  But this is only one aspect of the issue. There is yet another and more serious aspect of this. It relates to what kind of games we must allow to get into the public domain. What kind of perversity and absurdity is this when we create Blue Whale type games in which one action is SUICIDE?

This is one question we must address correctly. This is one issue we must tackle responsibly. For, no matter the definition of ‘freedom’ some of us may harbour, we must decide what kind of games we must allow to be developed in the first place. This issue, thus, travels into the zone of philosophy of appropriate censorship of anything that goes out in the public domain in the name of computer games.

What a dirty affair is the Blue Whale game? It lasts for days on end -- fifty days in some cases, I am told. During this ongoing ‘game’, the player is asked to fulfill a lot of absurd tasks that include stealing, harming others, harming oneself, going to creation grounds in the dead of the night, even murdering, and then committing suicide. This was what that kid did -- jumping off a highrise building to end life as part of the Blue Whale computer game! What kind of nonsense is this? And what have the cops done in this regard?

And if we question the cops, we also must question those pseudo-intellectuals who raise absolute non-issues and create ruckus in the society! Why doesn’t these people rise in unison against such computer games? One’s mind goes numb when one reads or hears something like this -- the boy committing suicide as part of a computer game he has been playing!

But then, as we all know, there are also ‘games’ and websites that have tutorials on how to commit rape and how to kill someone. Is this the information we must make available to ANYBODY -- even the kids who do not have the ability to discern what is right or what is wrong?  Whenever any discussion on this issue crops up, what follow is a torrent of angry questions. All the questions aim only at one point: What kind of definition we must harbour about freedom? What kind of activity we must allow in the name of freedom? And whose freedom, after all?

For, if it is the freedom of those who design such games, or the freedom of our kids from the filth such games pour onto the society, trapping innocent and ignorant kids in their attraction?

This is certainly a moral issue that needs to be sorted out in complete seriousness. This is one issue that we must tackle responsibly because it challenges the very title we take for ourselves -- civil society, or civilised society. Of course, it must be confessed that a lot of people in this so-called civil society harbour a lot of wrong definitions. That is the reason why a Kanhaiyaa Kumar is touted as patriot even after he raises pro-Pakistan slogans or a Prof. Saibaba is described as towering intellectuals because he harbours extremist literature and contributes to it, almost motivating youth to revolt against the lawfully elected government of a constitutionally established State.

To such people who wish to impose absolutely undesirable definitions on the society, we must ask questions as regards the computer games like Blue Whale in which some of the tasks to be completed are not just absurd but also plainly criminal, to say the least.  This Blue Whale game episode highlights one terrible social ill: It demonstrates so correctly and shockingly that the young people who play such games are quite likely to lose their minds and then many other precious things including their lives.

It is unfortunate that a good number of teenage kids -- anywhere in the world -- do not have the capacity to think calmly and decide what is right or wrong or desirable or undesirable! It is for this reason that the elders in the family and the society must be vigilant all along to ensure that the kids are protected from uncalled for evils such as the Blue Whale game in which the player has to complete a task and pin-prick a dot on the arm, with an aim of completing the diagram of a blue whale. And each time a task is completed, the player has to send a self ie of having earned a point on the task-list. The last point on the blue whale diagram may even be committing suicide (for which the game-manager in the digital device offers elaborate instructions and tutorials).

It is time we, as a society, decided whether such games should ever be allowed in public domain. But more importantly, it is time we decided if we should allow anybody produce such absurd and criminal games.
Our concern should also be the global concern. For, what is needed is a collective action to stop our kids from getting affected negatively on a permanent basis. We have to save our little ones