With a wave of panic rising over the Blue Whale Challenge, an online game that urges young participants to commit suicide,- hospitals in the city are seeing anxious parents seeking help from doctors.
Fortis Healthcare has launched a 24×7 helpline (8376804102) available for youngsters who undergo mental stress as a participant in the challenge and the family members who notice negative behavioural changes among children.
Dr Samir Parikh, director, department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare, said, “We have been receiving calls from teenagers as well as concerned parents. While initially we had a 9am-5pm helpline, we have now begun a 24×7 helpline to reach out to those who may need psychological support.”
This helpline is run by psychologists and psychiatrists who, along with Dr Parikh, are conducting a webinar series on media literacy. Schools may log in, participate and learn to avoid getting panicked with every bit of Blue Whale Challenge-related news going viral on social media. Blue Whale Challenge has been over-hyped and made sensational on social media, leading to several children falling prey to the game now, say city psychiatrists.
Dr Vyjayanthi S, consult ant psychiatrist and associate professor at M S Ramaiah Medical College and Hospitals, said: “All parents need to do is keep count of the time spent by a child on internet and seek immediate help from a psychiatrist in case they observe behavioural changes like locking doors and spending endless hours on internet, avoiding parents, friends and relatives and tending to be isolated.Parents need to check children’s browsing history to ensure that they are not getting addicted to such online games,” she added.