Second teen hospitalized in Algeria as blue whale challenge grips the country
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 21 December 2017| 02 Rabi ul Aakhir 1439
A 16-year-old has been admitted to a psychiatric ward in the state of Tizi Ouza, Algeria, as the morbid social media phenomenon, “the blue whale challenge”, takes hold in the country.
The disturbing phenomenon, which originated in Russia, gives users 50 different challenges to fulfil, set by administrators. The final challenge is to commit suicide.
A drawing in pen of a blue whale on the teen’s arm alerted the authorities that she may be involved in the challenge, as it has already affected youngsters in the region.
On Wednesday, a 14-year-old was hospitalised in critical condition, when the same whale drawing had been etched into her arm with a knife.
It has been reported that five young Algerians have died in connection to the blue whale challenge in recent months, according to TSA, which has panicked authorities and parents across the country.
Signs that someone may have become swept up by the challenge include: extreme fatigue, becoming extremely withdrawn and asocial, signs of self-harm or a newfound fascination with death, according to the Algerian authorities.
The troubling craze first originated on Russian social network VKontakte in 2015, however original reports that it had caused 80 teen suicides have been dismissed as unconfirmed, with many of the Blue Whale hashtags being traced back to both accounts. Yet the phenomenon has continued to spread panic worldwide.
In the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, authorities have banned smartphones in schools, and one school in Punjab has asked its students to wear short-sleeved shirts so they can check for whale-shaped tattoos – alleged proof of participation in the challenge.
Many however are dismissing the stories as “sensationalised fake news”, but as more deaths are reported, others feel a need to address the phenomenon.
The Algerian police have launched an awareness campaign directed towards the challenge, teaching youngsters about safe internet behaviour.
“Expert psychologists are continuing to lead awareness courses, which have recently focused on the harmful consequences of bad internet use, particularly with video games and the physical and psychological impact of the recent ‘Blue Whale’ challenge,” stated a police press release.
Source – Alaraby.co.uk