These days, we come across many strange things and even stranger events. News and WhatsApp forwards and other online links literally spill over and fall into our laps. Most of the news is short-lived and moves out very fast to make way for new happenings and the world has shrunk into a confusing little ball of contradictions and superficial feelings. This is the tiny earth we now inhabit and which our teens have been born into. They are way ahead of us in receiving all the news and one such weird incidence is the creepy Blue Whale Challenge that has several disturbing parts to it with the final being death. Suicide is said to be the terrifying end to this ‘challenge’ that has already claimed many lives.
You would think this subject has been done to death, wouldn’t you? And have you noticed, this note is being addressed to ‘parents’ and not meant to be just another general article on the Blue Whale Challenge? That’s because the main susceptible group are the teenagers. Teenage is the time that parents ‘back off’ these days, and give in a lot more than they did when the toddlers ran amok and had to be constantly reined in. Now, parents feel they must change track when the kids hit their teens and give them a long leash. But don’t forget — they are the real rebels, the ones who are always tempted to take up activity thrown as a dare to them – er, except challenges thrown by parents daring them to succeed at a sport or excel in their studies of course. Those sort of challenges require work and there’s nothing secretive about studying (!), so today’s kids are far too clever to conveniently fall for that.
The Blue Whale Challenge seems tailor made for the typical teenager who is a whiz at all gadgets, loves secrets and wants to be cool.
Yes, we know you know all about the Blue Whale Challenge and have spent considerable time talking with other parents and even warning your children about it. Even so, it’s important to go outside of your head on this. Even roughly translated, that does not mean ‘think out of the box’. Rather, it means you should not believe your own mind when it tells you that YOUR child would not get into this mess. To join the dots between teenagers and the Blue Whale Challenge, you need to step away from your routine and observe the long leash handed to the teenager. Often, they have their own rooms, their own pocket money, their own handheld gadget and a lot of time to themselves. Often, their parents both work or even if a parent is a home, the teen is still given the freedom to sit alone in his or her room for hours on end because ‘this is what kids do nowadays’.
The Blue Whale Challenge is a wake-up call. It should ideally be waking you up to ask yourself how much you know about your child and his day to day behavior. It should tell you that as a parent of a child growing up in rather challenging times with an overdose of freedom and unnecessary information and power, you should be mighty tuned in to her even if you’re not right beside her all the time.
Do enter your teen’s zone now and then even if you’re not welcome. Do ask them about their day and events in it even if you only receive rolled eyes and a variety of annoying shrugs. Do meet their eyes and have little chats with them, sharing parts of your life also with them. Do let them see you as a human who is invested in them even if they don’t reciprocate.
You brought them into this world loaded with opportunities good and bad so it’s your lookout to make them understand that you are the mother ship. That’s the only way to keep the aliens out.
By just another mother!