The Blue Whale saga is on a relentless march worldwide. The terrible computer or video game has been making screaming headlines in Bangladesh for a few days now. However, the picture is yet to be clear enough. When the first time the game was mentioned in connection with the death of a Holy Cross School student, primarily the impression was that she was led to death by the inescapable instructions received through the game. But then denial by her father of any engraving of a whale's picture on her hand with a razor blade took the wind out of the sail to some extent. Yet there was the suspicion that the influence of the game may have some impact on the deceased girl.
In another case, a class IX student from a school in the city's Mirpur had to be admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital after he fell unconscious consuming a large number of sleeping tablets. In this case, the boy admitted that he started playing the game out of curiosity and the initial experience was funny but gradually challenges -one after another -- were thrown before him. He was verbally abused if he did not want to accept the challenges. At one point, he wanted to quit the game but could not. Frustrated, he smashed his cell phone and decided to end his life.
The third story about another boy relates to similar inescapability. Fortunately, a friend of his watched the miserable condition of the gamer and informed the police. Reports have it that the boy was picked up by the police and is now under their custody. The police have made arrangement for his counselling. Then two other boys -one from Gazipur and another also from the city's Mirpur -- have clear signs of playing the game that led to their compulsively tragic death.
There are chilling reports that the man who created the game is a Russian psychologist. The man is a misanthropist who considered people not strong enough to accept challenges unfit for living in this world. When several girls committed suicide playing his game in Russia, the man was arrested.
Now if a game acts as a provocation for people to take their own lives, it surely is a dangerous thing. The question needs to be asked is how and why should the game be released globally knowing full well the consequences? It seems the level of unparalleled technological development has in it an element of Achilles heel. The destructive element is within and calls for prudence.
Computer or video games -not just the Blue Whale -have been causing so much damage to students. Many are becoming addicted to such games and living a miserable life. Their addiction is no less compelling than that of the drug addicts. Many talented young people's lives are ruined by this special type of addiction. Worse is the fact that there is no separate rehabilitation centre for them. Usually, the drug rehabilitation centres treat them and this cannot be recommended.
Many families are at their wit's end what to do with their game addicted sons and daughters. But no exclusive centres for them are available in the country. Understandably, it is a new problem and yet to be recognised as a serious threat to life and society. But the problem is already grave and should be given due consideration. If psychosomatic diseases can be treated in clinics and hospitals, this acquired mental problem should as well warrant particular medical and other kind of attention.
Against this backdrop, the source of such games should be brought under regulation. What such games are if not for their entertainment value? Now if entertainment causes deadly infatuation or addiction, those definitely should be treated as criminal. The young generation has the right to be free from this fatal attraction. Why not plug the channels through which such games enter this country. In the interest of discreet use of internet, slam the door to such games that has the potential to corrupt children and teenagers. If the route can be obstructed, it will be a great service to the nation. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) should go for this extreme measure in the interest of mental well-being and physical safety of the young people of this country.