To ensure safety of people on the internet, especially of children, the Indian government has asked social media and internet giants like Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, Instagram among others to get rid of the links to the ‘Blue Whale’ suicide game. Blue Whale, a dangerous challenge available online, has reportedly led to suicide in children all over the world including India. In a strong reaction, there has been a growing demand from people all over the country to ban this game from internet. Meanwhile, the ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY) wrote a letter on August 11 to all the internet majors, including Microsoft and Yahoo, asking them to take measures against it.
In the letter, the ministry said, “Instances of children committing suicide while Blue Whale Challenge have been reported in India…You are hereby requested to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or similar game is immediately removed from your platform.” The letter was issued following instructions from the law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, an official source told PTI. Even, Maneka Gandhi, the Minister for Women and Child Development, had written to the Electronics Ministry to ban the online challenge game. Ministry of Child and Development said in a series of tweets, “@Manekagandhibjp on Monday took up the matter with Home Minister @rajnathsingh and IT Minister @rsprasad and has requested that the challenge be removed from social media by suitable intervention.” The letter also mentions that the deadly game is believed to have led to nearly 100 deaths in the US, China and other countries.
The apex body for child rights, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), had also written to the ministry of electronics and information technology thrice on the matter since May asking it to identify violators, according to a ministry spokesperson.
The Blue Whale game is a 50-day challenge which demands that players complete tasks given by an anonymous “handler”. The “handler” instructs the players to cause self-harm, leading up to suicide. The lethal trend in the country came to light when a 14-year-old boy jumped from the fifth floor of a building in Mumbai earlier this month.