Having blogged out about this in an earlier post and feeling daft now having done so, I feel we need to get this out there. You may well have seen news and social media posts about ‘Blue Whale’, the posts urge you to share to protect young people from a viral suicide game. https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/3003805/blue-whale-suicide-game-online-russia-victims/The ‘Blue Whale’ story is a hoax, or fake news, something which is permeating almost every news area recently. http://www.netfamilynews.org/blue-whale-game-fake-news-teens-spread-internationally
Alerts are often shared over social media, even when initially shared through more conventional routes, such as letters home to parents. The danger with a social media share of a hoax or fake story is that it will also reach young people. There are significant pressures caused by FOMO – fear of missing out; this affects body image, feelings of belonging and for a young person with poor mental health it may encourage them to consider or copy a dangerous behaviour.
The most important messages are about keeping safe online:
Follow the age restrictions
- Put privacy settings on
- Don’t participate in anonymous chat
- Block, delete and report users or posts that worry you.
- Don’t take everything at face value
Encourage parents to keep the conversation going at home, to talk to their child about what they are doing online. Schools and family at home should celebrate the exciting things and provide sensible advice, caution and support if children are taking risks and report if concerned.
We can all learn from such things including us as the web is used more and more in our lives and checking validity is becoming more important. If you would like to learn more about what we can do to educate our young people on this area, don’t hesitate to get in touch.