SC dismisses petition seeking a ban on 'Blue Whale challenge'
The SC has dismissed a petition seeking a ban on the Blue Whale challenge after the Centre submitted it is impossible to block such online games. Instead, it asked states to spread awareness about such dangerous 'games' and about the "beauty of life" among students. The HRD should ensure all schools know about the potential dangers, it said. It had passed similar directives to the government earlier too.
The 'Blue Whale Suicide' challenge supposedly originates from online social media groups, where the administrator sets out tasks for participants to complete. The tasks range from self-mutilation to waking up at ungodly hours; and when the 50th day approaches, participants are brainwashed into committing suicide in order to complete the challenge. The targets for these challenges comprise of teenagers; some as young as 14.
The first death in India linked to Blue Whale was reported on July 29, when a 14-year-old allegedly jumped to his death from a building in Mumbai. Several other suicides have since been linked to the "game"; within two weeks, over six youths had killed themselves. In fact, seven Indian cities made the top-ten when it comes to global online searches for Blue Whale.
After a few alleged Blue Whale deaths in India, the government in August asked internet giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, WhatsApp, Yahoo and Instagram to remove all links to the dangerous online 'challenge'. Delhi Police had also issued an advisory to schools, colleges, parents and the public. It was planning an online preventive campaign related to the issue.
Earlier, the SC had noted that such 'games' are a "national problem" and urged the government to make a 10-minute informational video. Doordarshan and private channels were asked to telecast such videos during prime-time programs. Apart from Blue Whale, the court mentioned other deadly "games" online like Choking game, Fire Challenge, Salt and Ice Challenge, Eyeball challenge, Cutting challenge and Human Embroidery game.