The online world is an extension of our lives. It equips us with handy information, keeps communication channels easy and open, helps us connect and perform many transactions at the click of a button. In the middle of all this information -seeking and carrying on with our day to day businesses when you come across a video which shows two individuals (usually a young teenager but sometimes even enthusiastic adults) playing a prank on a third person by asking that person to jump and then deliberately tripping him or her in a way that the person lands directly on his or her head, what kind of feeling does it leave you with?
The “Skull- Breaker Challenge”, as they majestically named it, leaves one with nothing but a feeling of disgust and moreover a feeling of humiliation to belong to a race that finds joy in, well, breaking an unassuming person’s skull? But that is the bitter reality of the world today- a case of being desensitized to such an extent that we seek thrill through ‘extreme’ challenges and adventures and that too at someone else’s cost.
How talking about it can help save lives
It is but natural that every society will have miscreants who think that doing ‘something huge’ will bring them fame. After all, isn’t that how the world of social media influences us? By making us want to stand out from the rest of the world.
The current “Skull- Breaker challenge”, and the preceding “Blue- Whale Challenge” has made parents more and more vigilant about what their children are watching online. And this is the first step towards protecting your children- knowing what they are up to online!
The initial reaction of parents when they watch or read about such challenges doing the rounds and about their effects (deaths in some cases) is to somehow cocoon their children from such information. But this has an adverse effect, mostly in older kids and teenagers, who will come to know about these happenings anyway from their friends. And just like we have established that having an open talk with kids about drug-use or sex is more beneficial than harmful, the same holds true for such online trends.
Things to keep in mind while having ‘the discussion’
-The parent must convey the matter in a way that elucidates support rather than distrust or threat.
-The age of the child is also important as explaining it to very small children and showing them such videos will only confuse them and not serve the right purpose. They may instead be more tempted to try it out as younger children have fewer reasoning abilities. Hence, the parent’s discretion is always suggested.
-Cautioning older children about the effects of such online challenges and games not only safeguards them from falling prey to the ‘let’s try it’ feeling but also stirs their thought process towards questioning any trends – online or real.
-Explain to the child that some other friends might not think that engaging in a challenge is harmful and may try to influence other’s thought process but that they must not waver from their decision to not engage in such harmful activities.
A note for the young minds-
Now that you know how concerned your parents are about the vices of the online world, your job is to steer clear of any such harmful challenges.
-Use your reasoning abilities to the fullest.
-Know that not only is your life precious but even the lives of your near and dear ones are precious.
-Work towards building on your self- esteem through engaging in sports, creative pursuits that have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.
-Know the difference between the virtual and the real. Not everything that is virtual is real or right.
– Talk to someone, if not your parents, then a preferred teacher at your school to vent out.
With a heavy heart, I would like to end here by saying that life is precious and life is too short to engage in such meaningless acts. I sincerely hope that this race to ‘do something grand’ at the expense of other’s lives, stops at the earliest.