Sean and I recently attended a talk by Brad Huddleston, writer of the book Digital Cocaine. He spoke of the many side effects of digital addiction prevalent in everyone with access to technology, from 3 year old kids to adults. He said that one of the common side effects of this addiction in kids and teens was self mutilation – cutting. I took this information in with a sense of disbelief and shock!!!
But this mornings news report on the Blue Whale App just made all of it a reality. The Blue Whale App was designed for kids (particularly vulnerable kids) to lure them into following the instructions in the game. They are given 50 days to complete perverse acts. These include watching horror movies, cutting and posting pics to prove it. The last act is suicide – the idea that a whale has beached itself and dies.
Perhaps most disturbing, are the stats. To date 130 teen suicides in Europe are linked to the App. My first thought is how could these kids be so gullible. But the designer is reported to have said that he is cleansing society, as teens who do this, would not be any use to society.
Predators are purposefully using social media to hurt our kids. Its sick.
I think educating ourselves and our kids is part of the solution. But it will take a combined effort – from government intervention, to schools driving awareness and tech companies commitment to end the scourge.
Still I’m not sure whats more shocking, that a game like this exists or that kids are falling into its trap. That kids follow instructions on a screen to the point of death – that ones on us. We bear the responsibility to stay connected to our kids, to stay vigilant, to stay prayerful and to acknowledge digital addiction as a reality and a threat!!!!
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