Our thanks to Patricia Rehmer, Hartford HealthCare senior vice president for behavioral health and president of the HHC Behavioral Health Network, for letting readers know about a frightening new internet “game” that could ultimately take the life of a child.
The online Blue Whale Challenge offers dares that become increasingly risky over a 50-day period.
In Tuesday’s Herald, Rehmer explains, “The challenge begins with seemingly benign tasks like watching a scary movie or waking up at unusual times, but becomes increasingly dangerous by instructing participants to do things like hang from roofs or cut themselves. The final challenge encourages suicide.”
She adds that it “comes on the heels of controversy surrounding the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which some critics say glorifies suicide and has become extremely popular among kids and teens, who can access both the Blue Whale Challenge and “13 Reasons Why” through their iPhones or other devices.”
We’d all like to think that the teens in our life - children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews - are too wise, too well-adjusted to be swayed by trends of this kind but we only have to look back at our own youth to remember how vulnerable young people can be and how little even the best parent may know about their inner life.
Of course, the best way to fight trends like this is through sharing information, so we are grateful that experts like Rehmer are willing to alert us to threats we might not hear of - until it is too late.