Pune: Though the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) has issued an order to ban the Blue Whale challenge game in the country, there are other games as well on social media sites which are not only addictive but dangerous as well for Internet users. Games such as The Touch My Body Challenge, Deodrant Challenge, The Pass Out Challenge, Snap Chat Streaks etc are also doing the rounds on Internet sites other than Blue Whale challenge.
MEIT in a recent order has instructed social media and Internet search engines to remove the links of Blue Whale challenge and games similar to it. The ministry has instructed Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Yahoo India, Microsoft India and Google India to remove the links of Blue Whale in wake of recent incidents of suicide alleged to be associated with the deadly game in the country.
It has also asked social media platforms to inform law enforcing agencies if they come across any group promoting or playing the Blue Whale challenge.
The ministry order cited the reason to instruct such platforms and says, “The administrator of the game uses a social media platform to invite/incite children to play this game, which may eventually lead the child to extreme steps for self-inflicting injuries, including suicide.”
The alleged incidents of Blue Whale challenges have been reported in Maharashtra (Mumbai, Solapur), Madhya Pradesh (Indore), Kerala (Kannur) and West Bengal (West Midnapore).
However, experts have a different opinion regarding the ban and have also cited that there are ample addictive and dangerous games doing the rounds on social media.
Ashay Rege, a Mumbai based cyber security expert, said, “Since the challenge is not an application or a specific website, it’s close to impossible to ban it. Consistent content moderation on part of the social networking giants will be required for this. Awareness is the best thing to do. Educate the kids on what suicide or causing self harm is, so that they don’t fall prey to such challenges.”
Rohan Nyayadhish, another cyber security expert, said, “Games such as The Touch My Body Challenge, Deodrant Challenge, The Pass Out Challenge and others like them are also available on the Internet. It is difficult to ban them and the best way is to spread awareness about them.”
Some of the games mentioned by cyber security experts:
In this game, teenagers participate in anonymous chats and interact with strangers through a web cam. The peril of this game is game is that the teenagers get exposed to nudity and sexual harassment
Choking Challenge (Pass Out Challenge)
Participants of this game are generally teenagers who are filmed by the other person while the one of the participants chokes another till he/she passes out.
Touch My Body Challenge
This game is played by two people and is recorded visually.A person is blindfolded and as a challenge, he/she is made to touch the body part of the second player and he has to guess it. Most of the time, the blindfolded player ends up touching the private parts of the other player after which the video is posted online.
Salt and Ice challenge
Teenagers put ice cubes and salts in their hands and tighten their fist around them. The player who holds his fist for the longest time wins the game. This challenge has led even to third degree burns on the hands of player
In this challenge, players video fimed themselves while spraying deodorant spray on their body from a close distance and the person who continued spraying for the longest time, wins the game. The game led to extreme burns on the body of participants.
Teenagers filmed themselves while they snort balloons, condoms, threads etc. Sometimes, the challenge has led to choking and death.