A grieving father who recently lost his son to a sickening online craze is speaking out to alert other parents of the danger. He’s not the only one who has been forced to bury a child over the new “game” played online. Other teens are also turning up dead, and parents need to know what is going on.
The body of 13-year-old Conor Wilmot was found by his father, Greg, on May 11. The heartbroken dad now believes he has discovered something on the internet which eventually led to his son’s death. Conor is believed to have taken part in the Blue Whale Challenge, which sees participants given three tasks to perform within 50 days before taking their own life.
“Parents nowadays do not realize how much their children are into the world of virtual reality where, to them, everything is reality,” Greg Wilmot told the Irish Mirror. “They find it hard to discern between the two and I don’t see how we are going to tackle this as a major problem. Any nutcase can post terrible things on social media.”
The Blue Whale Challenge has already been linked to 130 deaths worldwide. It gets it name from one of the gruesome tasks teens are told to perform by an online administrator.
Players are assigned daily tasks by an administrator, which they have 50 days to complete.
Some are trivial – e.g. watching a horror movie and waking up in the early hours – but others are horrifying including self harm.
The tasks get more and more dangerous and extreme, with some scoring the shape of a whale into their skin on their arm.
On the 50th day, they are encouraged to take their own lives. [Source: Mirror]
Today’s teenagers, who are growing up in an age of unprecedented technological advancement, are being raised by a generation which grew up without the internet, and this is one of the major reasons we need to work harder to keep our children safe as they navigate the depths of the web.
“Everyone looks for the ideal parental control software – but I don’t believe in using software to replace actual parenting,” said Colman Noctor, a child and adolescent psychotherapist. “Technology is like alcohol or food – for most of us there is no issue, but there is a vulnerable population who will develop a problematic relationship with it,” he continued.
“As adults, we engage in technology with an informed baseline of pre-internet behavior,” added Noctor. “That’s the vast difference between us and our children – they don’t have a baseline experience of something other than the internet. We learned a set of skills before this Internet came along,” he further explained.
“The idea of giving someone a smartphone and waiting for them to come into trouble, before intervening then, is only closing the door when the horse is gone,” he said. “This is a portal to the outside world – you don’t allow that freedom in the non-virtual world so why would you do so in the virtual?”.
Indeed, it is a mistake for parents to allow their children unbridled access to the internet, although it is admittedly difficult to monitor the usage of all technology in a day and age when nearly every kid has a smartphone in their hands and a computer readily available. Still, we must do better to protect the next generation, and we can start by spreading this concerning new information surrounding the Blue Whale Challenge.