Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 25
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued guidelines to all the schools regarding educating safe use of internet as playing Blue Whale game is leading to suicides among adolescents but all schools are yet to act.
The recent incident of suicide of a Class X student of DAV Public School in Sector 8 has once again highlighted the issue. Also, the question arises on whether schools and parents are equipped to manage students' stress.
The guidelines issued by the CBSE on August 18 called for educating students for safe and effective use of the Internet and making children explicitly aware of the rule for the acceptable use and advised for displaying rules in this regard prominently.
It also called for installing effective firewalls, filtering and monitoring software mechanisms in all the computers and regularly review filtering and blocking policies and procedures.
Vibha Ray, principal, DAV Public School, Sector 8, said: "We do not allow use of mobile phones. If any phone is found, it is seized. We keep a check through the CCTV footage also. There is no Wi-Fi access. We are serious about cyber security." She added that the school had held a session on Blue Whale as early as on August 18.
Sunita Kapoor, counsellor in a government school in Sector 40, said: "In government schools we have totally banned the use of mobile phones. We have the CCTV cameras. Regarding safe use of internet, parents have to play a role. They have to keep a check on children and have to spend time with them."
Monica Kahlon, counsellor at Shivalik Public School, Sector 41, Chandigarh, said, "Children are curious. They think they can play Blue Whale and can exit anytime. We need to take simple steps to tackle it. More awareness is needed. Parents have to play a major role. Because, the game is being played at home. They need to keep a check on history of websites a child is surfing."
Advocate Ajay Jagga said, "Necessary steps should be taken by way of awareness in schools and parents to prevent the use of this game. The game has done lots of damage to young lives in Russia, Europe and UK also. The cyber crime cell of police may also be asked to keep an eye on this matter, on the social media."
- Deploy digital surveillance system
- Make children use Internet to work in highly-visible areas of the school
- Supervise and monitor all online activities
- Allow children to access only pre-selected websites appropriate to their age
- Make the teachers and other school staff aware of Internet safety norms
- Sensitise the parents about Internet safety norms
"Blue whale challenge targets adolescents who are socially phobic, prone to anxiety or depression. It becomes our prerogative as parents or friends to identify such children by their withdrawn social behaviour and seek help from a mental health care professional. Critical thinking and media sensitivity needs to be increased where children can identify the difference between virtual world and reality."
—Dr Parneet Sidhi, Clinical psychologist, Fortis Hospital
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