Center of controversy, the recent Blue Whale challenge has grabbed the attention of many across the globe. Originating from Russia, this highly questionable game involves the undertaking of increasingly difficult challenges over the span of approximately 50 days. The height of the controversy stems from the fact that after the Blue Whale challenge is completed, the participants are required to kill themselves. I believe that in an era of global warming, materialism, protectionism and world poverty, adolescents jumping from rooftops for the sake of a game is the ultimate sign that mankind is at a loss.
Although it is comprehensible that the current sociopolitical state of Eastern Europe is not exactly a happy environment in which to live — especially when one takes into account Vladimir Putin’s leadership, homosexual oppression and Ukrainian conflicts — teens willingly killing themselves explicitly highlights a need for external aid. Whether this is a form of natural selection from whoever created the challenge or a cry for help, the Blue Whale challenge is undeniably ridiculous, an insult to the value of human life. Perhaps, as observed from another perspective, the controversial game might be following another social media trend: adrenaline junkies.
If one were to observe the film industry for example, recent film “Nerve” featuring Emma Roberts depicts young adults challenging each other online to take on various challenges of an increasingly dangerous caliber in the name of adrenaline — a worryingly similar trend to that ongoing in Eastern Europe. Placing young, attractive actors in the role of negative influences, is the Hollywood movie industry not subliminally motivating adolescents to follow these fictional characters’ bad examples?
Moreover, on the same note of social media and its impact on the millennial generation, parkour encompasses acrobatic movements from the climbing of walls all the way to jumps between city skyscrapers, containing a similar adrenaline high as this new suicide challenge. Whether the motive is attention or adrenaline oriented, media appears to be actively encouraging this. In a recent Huffington Post article on death-defying stunts, for example, despite describing the trend as nauseating and fate-tempting, the author concludes by saying “we secretly can’t wait for the next one” when referring to a video of the wild acrobatic stunts and thus encouraging others to follow this example. Encouraging dangerous stunts and challenges, today’s media is largely responsible for many other deaths similar to that of adrenaline junkies.
My personal view is that awareness of social media and its impact on youth should be increased, as emphasised in the above paragraphs, as its temporary trends may lead to irreversible damage.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Lara Dreux at [email protected]