School kids should be aware of deadly Blue Whale game: SC to states

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, Nov 20: The Supreme Court directed the Chief Secretaries of all states to issue directions to make school children aware of the dangers posed by virtual dare games like Blue Whale Challenge, saying they must be made aware of the "beauty of life".

Make school kids aware of deadly Blue Whale game: SC to states

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also asked the Union Human Resources Development Ministry to issue a circular to make school-going children aware of the perils of such dangerous games.

"The beauty of life is not to meet with the beauty of death, but to keep death away," the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said, adding that "parental care, concern, love, instilling a sense of optimism in children" will keep them away from searching such games.

"We direct all the Chief Secretaries of states to issue directions to concerned departments to make children aware about the dangers of games like Blue Whale Challenge," the bench said and disposed of the PIL that had sought framing of guidelines to regulate online digital games.

The children should not be made aware about the games, but "the beauty of life", the court said, adding that the state governments, while issuing advisory, should keep in mind the CBSE's guidelines on "Safe and Effective Use of Internet and Digital Technologies in Schools and School Busses".

The guidelines require schools to promote a safe and secure educational environment for effective teaching and learning and discouraging students from actions detrimental to themselves, their peers and the value system. They also advise the school authorities take steps to pre-empt any inappropriate or illegal activity through IT- enabled devices in schools.

Attorney General K K Venugopal and Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, apprised the court about the interim report of a committee, which was set to enquire into recent cases of suicides of children who allegedly got trapped and played the Blue Whale Game.

Venugopal said a high level meeting was convened in which senior scientists and police officials took part and took some decisions. It has been decided to establish a monitoring cell to keep a watch on such programmes and block concerned sites. A high level committee would investigate all cases of alleged suicides or attempted suicides, the top law officer said. The committee has also suggested issuance of advisory to create awareness in educational institutions and social groups and provide helpline numbers to children, he said.

The ASG said Blue Whale Challenge Game was shared among secretive group on social media networks and players cannot stop playing once they start and it ends on the 50th day, leading the player to commit suicide. He said the Blue Whale game has no formal application and it does not contain internet protocol or URL address which are required to block or remove it.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, appearing for advocate Sneha Kalita who has filed the PIL, said a dedicated team of scientists be constituted to suggest technical solutions against such gaming. The court allowed Hansaria to suggest names of such scientists to the government for their inclusion in the panel, besides giving suggestions to curb the menace of such games.

On October 27, the apex court had asked Doordarshan to produce a 10-minute educational show on the perils of virtual dare games. The Centre had said that around 28 cases relating to such games have been reported so far in the country and the agencies were probing them. It had said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had set up a committee to deal with the issue and information was being sought from various service providers and steps would be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

The apex court had sought the response on the plea seeking to firewall such life threatening and violent games existing in the cyber world like 'Choking game', 'Salt and Ice Challenge', 'Fire Challenge', 'Cutting challenge', 'Eyeball challenge' and 'Human Embroidery game'.

PTI 

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