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19 Sep 2019, 06:00 HRS IST
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  • PTI
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    • Features
  • Blue Whale: Underground, unknown and dangerous
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  • It can be Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp or any other online forum,"  Tiwari said.

    For instance, a journalist from NB Bishkek news (Kyrgystan) writes in a personal account on the website about registering on Instagram as a teenage girl, and then making "a couple of naive posts, depressive photos" and specific tags.

    "After a day, they knocked on my face. - Are you in Game? - Yes," the journalist writes on NB Bishkek news.

    What would make a teenager seek out this challenge in the first place? Psychiatrist Sameer Malhotra explained that they were at an "impressionable" age, where "validation from the world around" seemed imperative to them.

    "For them, the external environment becomes a source of inspiration, which is why they are willing to do anything to prove/justify/live up to a certain image," he said.

    There was also an increase in risk taking behaviour during adolescence, Dr Malhotra from the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital here said.

    "People in such situations and with such vulnerable behavioural patterns often lose control, resulting in self harm," he said.

    Those participants who might have expressed a desire to quit the "game" midway were apparently threatened.

    A February report by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a US government-funded broadcasting organisation, said one of their correspondents who had signed up for the challenge as a 15-year old asked what would happen if she wanted to get out.

    The curator replied, "I have all your information. They will come after you."

    Tiwari advised parents to use online tools to regulate surfing to keep an eye on children's Internet activities.

    "It's not possible to keep children away from the internet today. The best thing to do is keep an eye on the websites they surf, the content they are looking up on Google," he said.

    Mumbai-based psychologist Harish Shetty called for "gadget hygiene".

    "There should be rationing of the gadget time by keeping a watch on what children do and don't. Parents should ask the children to play with their hands and legs and not with their fingers," he said.

    Instagram and Facebook have come up with measures where a user is directed to a help page when they search for hashtags related to the blue whale c

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