A recent Netflix series and an online game both deal with suicide, and their content has disturbed a number of educators and parents. According to the Straits Times, the Education Ministry of Singapore issued special advisories about the game and the show, warning parents and teachers about the potential for negative influence on children and teens.

The Sinister Influence of the Blue Whale Game

The Blue Whale suicide game began in Russia. It’s a multi-level game that prompts players to perform certain tasks or injure themselves. If someone wants to join the game, they post on specific social media platforms with particular hashtags. They are then “vetted” or confirmed as players by the “curators” who run the game.

After admission to the game, the players are required to accomplish a set of 50 daily tasks, many of which involve self-harm or other negative actions. The game goes on for days. During the last 10 days of the game, plays are prompted to wake up very early, listen to prescribed music, and think about dying. As a final challenge, the players are requested to kill themselves. After so many days of doing harmful acts, less sleep, depressing thoughts, and following some unseen person’s orders, the players are conditioned to be much more susceptible to following through on the suicide.

The Negative Messages of 13 Reasons Why

The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why tells the story of a girl who killed herself because of bullying, friendship conflicts, rape, and bullying. She leaves behind audio messages for others, explaining her reasons for ending her life. Unfortunately, the show is aimed at teens and pre-teens, and it has had a negative impact. One young Singapore student, Laurel Tan, claimed that the show gave her several new ideas about how to commit suicide.

Although the show does not overtly condone suicide, it seems to justify it as a way out, possibly even a beautiful, meaningful act. It’s a dangerous message to be sending to young people.

Singapore Suicide Rates and Related Concerns

With suicide of teens and young people already on the rise in Singapore, officials are very concerned about the threat of the Blue Whale game and the Netflix show. According to Samaritans of Singapore, there is “new wave of negative media influence concerning suicide,” and it’s dangerous for young people, especially those who may already be struggling with depression or anxiety.

Are you concerned about the mental health of a young person in your life? Have you heard your children or teens discussing 13 Reasons Why or the Blue Whale game? If you are worried about your child’s mental health, or concerned that he or she may be depressed, act now! Bring your teen or pre-teen for a counselling session with one of the trained psychiatrists or psychologists at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic.

Teens can discuss emotions, dark thoughts, and negative impulses in a safe, confidential space, with a professional who can effectively counsel them on how to cope with these thoughts and impulses. Call our offices today to get help for your young family member.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Straits Times, 5 May 2017