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The Blue Whale Challenge is a series of self-harm causing tasks that are propagated via online social media under the disguise of a "game." The list of tasks must be completed in a duration of 50 days and they cause both physical and mental harm to the player. The final task is to commit suicide. The game is supposed to be administered by people called "curators" who incite others to cause self-mutilation and commit suicide. The curators and potential players are known to contact each other on social networking websites and the conversations between them are suspected to take place mainly via direct messages which are difficult to track. Though, in order to find curators, the players make public posts containing certain hashtags/keywords to catch their attention. Even though a lot of these social networks have moderated posts talking about the game, yet some posts manage to pass their filters. Our research focuses on (1) understanding the social media spread of the challenge, (2) spotting the behaviour of the people taking interest in Blue Whale challenge and, (3) analysing demographics of the users who may be involved in playing the game.
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White or Blue, the Whale gets its Vengeance: A
Social Media Analysis of the Blue Whale
Challenge
Abhinav Khattar?, Karan Dabas?, Kshitij Gupta?, Shaan Chopra?, and
Ponnurangam Kumaraguru
IIIT Delhi, India
{abhinav15120,karan15141,kshitij15048,shaan15090,pk}@iiitd.ac.in
Abstract. The Blue Whale Challenge is a series of self-harm causing
tasks that are propagated via online social media under the disguise of
a “game.”The list of tasks must be completed in a duration of 50 days
and they cause both physical and mental harm to the player. The final
task is to commit suicide. The game is supposed to be administered
by people called “curators ”who incite others to cause self-mutilation
and commit suicide. The curators and potential players are known to
contact each other on social networking websites and the conversations
between them are suspected to take place mainly via direct messages
which are difficult to track. Though, in order to find curators, the players
make public posts containing certain hashtags/keywords to catch their
attention. Even though a lot of these social networks have moderated
posts talking about the game, yet some posts manage to pass their filters.
Our research focuses on (1) understanding the social media spread of the
challenge, (2) spotting the behaviour of the people taking interest in Blue
Whale challenge and, (3) analysing demographics of the users who may
be involved in playing the game.
1 Introduction
The Blue Whale Challenge is organised in such a way so as to ultimately brain-
wash the minds of the players and drive them to cause self-harm. The tasks
include waking up at odd hours, listening to psychedelic music, watching scary
videos and inflicting cuts and wounds on their bodies [4]. This causes the players
to have disturbed minds, making them more susceptible to influence.“At some
point, it is necessary to push the teenager not to sleep at night. [In this way,
their] psyche becomes more susceptible to influence ”, Philipp Budeikin said,
explaining his tactics of manipulation [12].
The curators and potential players use online social networks to contact each
other. Curators seek out young people on social media who want to take part in
the 50-day challenge and subject them to the tasks [14]. Also, a task of the game -
?authors contributed equally
arXiv:1801.05588v1 [cs.SI] 17 Jan 2018
Fig. 1: The list of 50 Tasks as found on Reddit. We find some minor modifications
in the list at different sources.
Task 8 in Fig. 1 - asks the player to post to VKontakte (VK), a Russian social net-
working website. Posts of the challenge have now spread to Twitter, Instagram,
Facebook, Reddit and other social networks. The creator of the game, Philipp
Budeikin, 21 years, was arrested for coaxing 16 schoolgirls to kill themselves [17].
Another Russian, Ilya Sidorov, 26 years, confessed to being the administrator
of a so-called suicide group that had 32 under-age members [17]. The most re-
cent administrator caught was a 17-year-old Russian girl who initially played the
game but did not take her life in the end, instead turned into a curator [19]. A
17-year-old Chinese student was also arrested and charged with extremism over
a Blue Whale chat group [21]. But even with the original curators in jail, how is
the game still thriving? There are a lot of misconceptions about the game. Some
people think that it exists as an APK file on playstore. Though there have been
claims that at some point such applications existed on playstore, there is no
such application as of now. People also think that it is a flash game available on
some website. But the game actually thrives as a phenomenon on social media,
not as an application. Some people are trying to hunt down public groups on
social media websites like VK or Facebook [2]. A Chinese tech giant, Tencent,
has found at least 12 groups on its QQ instant messaging service using keywords
related to the Blue Whale game [22]. Other reports claim that the game is fake
and made the news because of spread of misinformation [18]. Several cases of
suicide and self-harm have not gained as much “popularity”as compared to sim-
ilar incidents that are said to be caused as a result of the challenge and it is
difficult to point out suicides that were caused solely due to the game [6]. “It
2
is said that reckless journalism actually created a sense of panic about the Blue
Whale challenge when the real concern should actually be addressing mental
illness.” [18] There are also claims that accounts of people are hacked and used
as “curator”accounts to incite others and that at some point in time, there were
links on Facebook leading to the game [20]. Players were previously sought out
through death groups on social networks like VK. It is believed that members of
these groups contacted curators via direct message and primarily conversed in
Russian [2]. “So, if the game’s curators are in prison, how are teens still playing
it? Well, the problem is, with all these teens out there searching for the game, all
they need to do is stumble across one individual who is looking to exploit them
and very soon they’ll be playing Blue Whale, or at least a copy cat’s version of
the game” [2]. Any person on the internet can claim to be a curator and continue
the game, inciting more and more people to commit self-harm. They can also be
bots that act as curators and send messages to people. Since the primary link
between victims and curator(s) is using online social media, we can try to find
out users who might be vulnerable and spot common properties these accounts
might share. Governments and authorities across the world are trying to take
steps to curb the spread of the Blue Whale Challenge. We wish to (1) understand
the social media spread of the challenge, (2) spot the behaviour of the people
taking interest in Blue Whale challenge and, (3) analyse demographics of the
users who may be playing the game.
2 Related Work
Scientific literature was reviewed to get a deeper understanding of the challenge
and how it thrives online. In [13], the authors studied the structure of the tasks to
understand how the challenge brainwashes the players who take it. They further
explain how the instructions of the game exploit fear psychology to prepare the
victims for self-infliction of pain and suicide: Tasks 1 to 9 serve as the induction
tasks followed by the habituation tasks - 10 to 25 - followed by the final prepa-
ration tasks - 26 to 50. Also, the authors found that teenagers with complicated
upbringing and negative life experiences are more likely to get involved in the
game. Another paper [11] by Jouni Smed et al assesses the negative effects of
gamification such as game addiction and ethical issues. The Blue Whale chal-
lenge shows how gamification can be used for harmful purposes, that is used to
engage the users and drive them towards suicide.
3 Methodology
Data was collected from three social media websites: VK, Instagram, and Twit-
ter. The aforementioned Social Networks were chosen for the analysis as data
was readily available on them. Table 1 shows the duration for which posts from
social networks were collected. Fig. 2 shows the architecture diagram for the
methodology followed for the study.
3
Fig. 2: Architecture Diagram for Methodology
Table 1: Duration for which data from different social networks was col-
lected(GMT)
Social Media #First Post Date(dd-mm-yyyy) #Last Date for Data Collection(dd-mm-yyyy)
VK 01-03-2017 01-10-2017
Instagram 03-07-2013 01-10-2017
Twitter 18-08-2017 01-10-2017
We collected data for the following Hashtags: #i am whale, #curatorfindme,
#f57, #wakemeupat420, #iamawhale, #I am whale, #iamwhale, #imwhale.
Initially, the collected posts contained either of the two hashtags: #curatorfindme
or #i am whale. Query expansion was used to include the following hashtags
in our analysis as well: #f57, #wakemeupat420, #iamawhale, #I am whale,
#iamwhale, #imwhale. Hashtags like #bluewhalechallenge and #bluewhale were
avoided as they contained a lot of noise (posts which were news related or
spreading awareness about the challenge). We performed various analysis on
the collected data, categorising it into Temporal Analysis, Content Analysis,
and Network Analysis.
4 Statistics
Table 2 shows the number of cases associated with the Blue Whale Challenge
- including those who died, who were saved and who showed signs of playing
the game. We referred to various articles from news sources; except for one news
source from Chile with highest global Alexa ranking of 130,040, the ranking of all
other news sources fell under 45,000. The news source from Chile was a regional
newspaper with country-wise Alexa score of 721. Finding the exact number of
deaths due to this is extremely difficult. According to news sources, around 130
deaths are associated with the Blue Whale Challenge in Russia and all these
4
teenagers were known to be part of the same internet group [5,16]. According to
the Russian investigation though, only 8 deaths were actually due to the Blue
Whale challenge [3]. India ranks highest according to Google trends in terms of
searches related to the Blue Whale game in 12 months [8,9]. Table 3 captures the
various demographics of the data we collected. Fig. 4 shows the devices used to
post about the challenge on VK and Twitter. We can see that a lot of posts on
VK have been made using the mobile website; this can be because the Russian
social network was recently banned in India due to the challenge [7]. When we
cross-checked the collected posts on 13th October 2017, a number of them had
already been deleted. Fig. 5 shows the image contained in such a deleted post
on VK. Table 3 shows these figures for different social networks. Comments on
Twitter stands for replies.
Fig. 3: Distribution of Blue Whale cases across the world
Table 2: Number of cases related to the Blue Whale Challenge in different coun-
tries
Country #Cases #Country #Cases
Argentina 3 Pakistan 2
Bangladesh 2 Portugal 2
Brazil 4 Russia 130 1
Chile 3 Saudi Arabia 1
China 1 Serbia 1
India 10 Spain 1
Ireland 1 Turkey 1
Italy 2 United States 4
Kenya 1 Uruguay 1
TOTAL 170
1Around 130 suicides in Russia are linked to the Blue Whale Challenge [5,16]
5
Table 3: Data Description
Social Media #Posts #Unique users #Comments #Deleted posts
VK 862 705 894 76
Instagram 1,137 736 751 386
Twitter 677 548 27 83
Fig. 4: Platforms used to access various social media sites and post about the
Blue Whale Challenge.
Fig. 5: The image posted on VK - initially collected as a part of our dataset - was
deleted. Interestingly, the entire user account has been temporarily suspended.
The text content of the post was #i am whale.
6
5 Analysis
We divide our analysis into 3 broad categories: Temporal, Content, and Network;
with graphs from each of the 3 networks (where available).
5.1 Temporal Analysis
(a) VK (b) Instagram
(c) Twitter
Fig. 6: Time difference between first and last posts related to Blue Whale on
different social networks
In general, we observe that people on VK and Twitter continued to post
about the Blue Whale Challenge/followed the challenge even multiple days after
their initial post. We deemed a post Blue Whale related if the text contained
any of the relevant hashtags as used in the data collection. Most of the content
in Blue Whale related posts was hashtags. The statistics from Instagram show
7
(a) Indegree - number of followers - of
users posting about the Blue Whale
Challenge
(b) Outdegree - number of followings - of
users posting about the Blue Whale
Challenge
Fig. 7: Instagram
Fig. 8: VK - Total number of Blue Whale posts with respect to the number of
friends of the users
a really low follow-up time. Though Instagram isn’t removing all the posts,
but instead, if any of the sensitive hashtags are searched for, they ask the user
whether they need support but still give an option to see the posts anyway. In
Fig. 6(a), it is seen that the time difference between the first and last post related
to Blue Whale on VK by users ranges from 0 hours to 500 hours. Around 85%
of the users continued posting about Blue Whale for less than an hour. 98.6%
of the users have a time difference of fewer than 200 hours between their first
and last Blue Whale related post. In Fig. 6(b), it is seen that the time difference
between the first and last post related to Blue Whale on Instagram by users
ranges from 0 hours to 22.5 hours. 94% of the users have a time difference less
than 15 hours between their first and last Blue Whale related post. In Fig. 6(c),
8
it is seen that the time difference between the first and last post related to Blue
Whale on Twitter goes up to 2,000 hours. But similar to VK, 81.25% of the
users continued posting about the challenge for less than an hour.
In Fig. 7(a), it is seen that around 70% of users talking about Blue Whale
challenge on Instagram have less than 200 followers. In Fig. 7(b), it is seen that
around 60% of users talking about Blue Whale challenge on Instagram have less
than 200 followings. In Fig. 8, it is seen that 60% of the users talking about the
Blue Whale Challenge on VK have up to 50 friends. We observe that most of the
users who posted about the Blue Whale Challenge on both VK and Instagram
did not have a high number of Followers/Friends. On manual verification, we also
found that most of these user IDs were actually new and only contained posts
about the challenge. On Twitter, 27.01% of the user accounts in our dataset
were created in 2017.
5.2 Network Analysis
Fig. 9: Instagram Comments Graph: If a user comments on the post by another
user, there is a directed edge between them
Fig. 9 and Fig. 10 depict the network of the users we got from Instagram and
VK respectively. Fig. 10(a) shows links between users that are friends on VK and
are present in the data collected. Fig. 9 and Fig. 10(b) show links between users
based on their comments on others’ posts, that is, there is an edge from A to B
if A commented on B’s post. As we can see the comment network for Instagram
is much more sparse as compared to VK. The comment network on VK has
an average clustering coefficient of 0.012. From Fig. 10(a), we also observe that
certain users posting about the Blue Whale Challenge are inter-connected on
VK, that is, most of the users in this subset tend to be friends on VK and form
9
communities. The average clustering coefficient of the VK friends graph comes
out to be 0.262 - this excludes the nodes which have no edges. On the other
hand, we were not able to find any follower-following link amongst the users
present on Instagram.
(a) VK Friends Graph: If 2 users are friends then
there
is an edge between them
(b) VK Comments Graph: If a user comments
on the post by another user, there is a directed
edged between them
Fig. 10: VK - Network Analysis
5.3 Content Analysis
Language Analysis: We used a port of Google’s language detection library
in python - langdetect - to determine the languages of the posts. English is the
most commonly used language in the three social networks. In Fig. 11(a) it is
seen that Italian, Persian and German are used in almost equal number of posts
on Instagram. In Fig. 11(b) it is seen that Tamil and Hindi are used in quite a
few posts on Twitter. In Fig. 11(c) it is seen that a good number of posts on
VK are made in Welsh, Romanian and Somali languages.
Sensitive Information: People reveal sensitive information about themselves
like their email addresses and phone numbers so that curators can contact them.
In Fig. 12, we see that around 70 phone numbers are revealed by users in posts
and comments about the Blue Whale challenge on VK. Some email addresses
and phone numbers are also revealed by users on Twitter and Instagram.
10
(a) Instagram (b) Twitter
(c) VK
Fig. 11: Different languages on different social networks in which Blue Whale
related posts are made
Fig. 12: Amount and type of sensitive information shared across various social
media sites to play Blue Whale game
11
User Mentions 144 unique user accounts were mentioned in the collected
twitter dataset. Most of these user-mentioned accounts are either famous users
or users who are trying to stop this game; the list also contains accounts of
Twitter security and Twitter. But there were a few accounts that tweeted only
about the Blue Whale challenge. Some typical behaviours shown by these user
accounts are: (1) tweets containing less text and more hashtags so as to catch the
attention of users including curators, (2) occasional pictures of results of tasks
such as carved arms and legs, and (3) low follow-up, that is, most users don’t
follow up after 1-3 posts about the challenge. Fig. 13 shows these behaviours by
accounts found as user-mentions in the collected tweets.
We also came across an interesting account that was acting to be a curator and
asking users to private message or follow him/her if they wanted to join the
game. Fig. 14 shows the profile of this Twitter account.
6 Different types of Users involved in the game
6.1 Potential Victims
Users who are depressed and ready to go to any extent to become a part of the
game fall under this category. Such users often tend to reveal personal informa-
tion like phone numbers, email addresses etc. so that curators can contact them.
Fig. 15 shows a tweet where a user revealed his/her contact information.
6.2 Propagators and/or Pretentious Curator
Users who post about the challenge with the intention of promoting it fall under
this category. In extremely rare cases, it is possible that these propagators might
be curators but such an event is counter-intuitive as actual curators would not
risk revealing their identity. Fig. 14 shows a Twitter account that claims to
be a curator and asks users to private message or follow him/her to join the
game. There have been cases where propagators or pretentious curators share
the images of the 50 tasks (Fig. 1) along with the links to APK files - which are
not related to the game - misleading the users into believing that an application
for the game exists. Some propagators also tend to share images of victims as
shown in Fig. 16(c). Fig. 16(a) shows a propagator who shared a WhatsApp
group link. Such things often excite users to reveal their personal information.
6.3 Hashtag Hijackers
There are users that use the Blue Whale challenge related hashtags in their posts
just to seek attention and get some reactions to their posts. Fig. 17(b) shows
how irrelevant hashtags are used in order to garner more views and attention for
the post. These people contribute to the noise in the data collected.
12
(a) Account that posted images of cut
legs
(b) Account that posted images of
cut wrist
(c) Account that used popular Blue
Whale related hashtags to catch at-
tention
Fig. 13: Examples of some typical behaviours showed by user mentioned accounts
on Twitter
Fig. 14: A user-mentioned account on Twitter pretending to be a curator
13
Fig. 15: Twitter - A post containing contact information revealed by a user in
pursuit of joining the game
7 Conclusion
The Blue Whale challenge is a game that spread via online social media. It
originated in Russia and is still on the rise; it is being propagated by the people
themselves. On social media, people try using all types of keywords, hashtags,
and images, so as to catch the attention of curators and be able to join the
game. They might not even know what the game is about but want to play it.
Then there are others who do not exclusively post only about the game but drop
hints that they might be disturbed and looking for a way to end their life. A
lot of sensitive information like phone numbers, email addresses etc. is revealed
by people who want to take part in the challenge or those who are propagating
it. A low fraction of people posting about the challenge follow up and post
regularly. Users interested in Blue Whale Challenge are much better connected
on VK than on Instagram. Also, the interaction between the users on VK -
that is commenting on each other’s posts - is much more than the interaction
between such users on Instagram. The complexity of this game is that it is
difficult to pinpoint which deaths are caused solely because of it. People may
be depressed or affected by hardships before taking up the challenge. It is also
possible that people who committed suicide showed the general symptoms that
overlapped with those playing the game. Hence, it is difficult to verify deaths
that are claimed to have occurred because of the challenge. Also, conversations
between the curators and players are suspected to take place mainly through
direct message - most of which are deleted like the posts on social media. Further,
a lot of user accounts are deactivated or suspended.
8 Actions taken by Social Media Services
Instagram shows a warning when people search for pictures related to the Blue
Whale Challenge. It offers help to people who might be going through something
difficult but at the same time gives an option to “see posts anyway” [15] as shown
in Fig. 18(a). Along with the warning, Tumblr also lists counselling and anti-
suicide resources as shown in Fig. 18(b).
14
(a) A WhatsApp Group specifically
made for people willing to be a part
of the Blue Whale Challenge
(b) A possible propaga-
tor.
(c) Pictures of cut arms of users who are
taking the Blue Whale Challenge. One or
more tasks of the challenge involve con-
ducting self mutilation and then taking
pictures of the same.
Fig. 16: VK - User Posts
15
(a) Carve F57 - A task in the game. (b) Use of Blue
Whale game
related hashtags
for popularity
gain.
Fig. 17: Instagram - User Posts
(a) Instagram (b) Tumblr
Fig. 18: Warning shown on searching about Blue Whale
In order to stop the spread of the challenge, a committee of experts has been
set up by the government of India. The government has also asked companies
like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to remove
all links related to Blue Whale Challenge [1]. The supreme court has additionally
asked major Indian News Channels to actively spread awareness about the Blue
Whale Challenge [10]. The access of the Russian Social Network VK has also
been temporarily banned in India [7].
16
9 Limitations
Most online social media websites have been instructed to remove posts per-
taining to the Blue Whale Challenge. Images of cut hands and blood are often
removed and suspicious user accounts are suspended. Also, a lot of users delete
their posts. This leads to a shortage of data even though the effects of the game
might be widespread. Also, API limits of social networks limit the amount of
data that can be accessed in the first place. Due to lack of interaction with the
individuals or those close to them, it is very difficult to know if there are other
reasons why the victim is or was involved in the challenge.
10 Future Work
We would like to study the characteristics of vulnerable users and try to divide
them into different categories like curator (difficult to find this), propagator,
vulnerable player, beginner player etc. Based on this a confidence score can be
developed which indicates the level of danger the user is in and what kind of
interventions can be taken to get him/her out of the situation. If possible, we
would like to do a detailed geographic analysis to find where most of these users
are coming from.
11 Acknowledgements
We would like to acknowledge the role of Srishti Gupta for providing her valuable
inputs and suggestions throughout the project. We would also like to thank
Kushagra Bhargava for getting us on track and evaluating our progress from
time to time. Lastly, we would like to thank Vedant Nanda for his creative
incites.
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... Participants of the game in 2014 -2018 were reported to be mainly from the post-Soviet countries. The extant research literature on the issue shows that the 'Blue Whale' phenomenon extends itself on other countries such as India (Khattar, Dabas, & Gupta, 2018;Mukhra et al., 2019). At the same time, there was no correlation between the family welfare and adolescents' victim behavior (Blue Whale, 2019). ...
Conference Paper
Social media and messengers have become an integral part of young people’s lives. A person often falls under the influence of social media. A shared post has a considerable impact on its creator’s personality and relationship with others. Also, it can become the source of risk (hype, bullying). Open and accessible Internet services make young people and children vulnerable to information crimes. In view of this, social media presents an important field for risk-based research in education. The most outstanding and atrocious example of what cybercriminals are capable of is the suicide game ‘Blue Whale’. The research objective is to analyze the operating principles and mechanisms for the dissemination of destructive communities on social media websites drawing on the example of the community ‘Blue Whale’, popular in Russia and Poland in 2014-2017. Destructive communities on social media websites and personal accounts were analyzed with regard to data security. Media publications related to the activities of the ‘Blue Whale’ community from 2014 to 2017 were also studied. A key component in the analysis is the study of public opinion and the response of the education system to the activities of the ‘Blue Whale’ community. In one respect, the topic of ‘Blue Whale’ was viewed as a taboo. For a long time, society and the education system did not see the game as a threat. Thus, it quickly spread globally and led to tragic consequences. At the same time, social media websites were positioned as a networking place void of risks. This resulted in easily accessible information and low personal data protection level.
... Since then, an increasing number of suicidal cases (completed suicides and suicide attempts), in a growing number of countries, for example, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Italy, US, UK, India, Pakistan and China have been reported as connected to the BWC (Balhara et al., 2018;Khan et al., 2018;Mukhra et al., 2019;Ruiz-Villaverde et al., 2021). Although there are no official data of BWC-related youth suicide globally, one study managed to map the global situation by referring to various news resources (Khattar et al., 2018). In their calculation, BWC-related self-harm incidents were observed at least 18 countries with 170 cases. ...
Article
Full-text available
Since 2015, there have been numerous reports, mostly unsubstantiated, of teen suicides associated with an online contest – the Blue Whale Challenge (BWC) in Russia, Europe and India. Recently, reports emerged of possible BWC cases in China. 7 Cases were selected from Chinese media reports by online searching. Multiple sources of information (e.g., published reports, social media entries) were searched and examined for detailed information about cases, to collect information on pre-game situations, game activities, and post-game conditions. Thematic analysis was used to determine themes in BWC victim antecedents, behaviors, and consequences. Two of seven cases were female. Ages ranged 11-19 years (M = 15.57, SD = 2.94). Thematic analysis of the seven Chinese cases revealed a predisposition phase (low mood, interpersonal problems, poor school performance) followed by a five-stage process of BWC involvement: 1) contact with a death-oriented game (BWC); 2) acceptance of the game’s rules and the escalating challenges; 3) BWC incidents conclusion – a suicide attempt/completion; 4) discovery by others and/or game rejection, followed by 5) personal recovery. Analyses revealed interventions are required at each victim stage, and the necessity for increased online efforts. As most adolescent cases showed school problems (e.g., poor school performance, absenteeism), we recommend increased efforts at primary to tertiary schools to assess for and address personal difficulties of students demonstrating poor school performance. Results call for a new wave of revised suicide prevention methods led by digital natives but in collaboration with government, media and communities to address unique contemporary risks.
Chapter
The present paper is an attempt to analyze the new challenge posed by online gaming addiction on youth. Online Games are one of the highest growing forms of Internet addiction, especially among youth. Similar to an addiction of alcohol or drugs, gamers show several common signs of addiction. Now days there are many deadly games which have been playing by the youth. One of the games is known as-Blue Whale Challenge. Blue Whale Challenge was an online game in which one step ahead was one step towards death. Present paper explores the emergence of online gaming addiction and its impact on individuals and families. This paper also reviews the warning signs of online gaming addiction, adolescent issues involved in gaming addiction. T he findings of this paper are based on focus group discussions with the adolescent belong to lower middle economical family backgrounds of Kolkata.
Book
The uprisings of 21st century have affected the entire globe – politically, economically, culturally, and most importantly socially. According to United Nations report the sense of public optimism and hope that called for social inclusion, economic reform and increased social justice has largely been replaced by political instability and conflict in most of the countries. And emerging economies like India are expected to contribute a majority of the increase in global population. Time has come when researchers and policy makers have to define a regional agenda for inclusive social development that would further lay the road map for Sustainable Development. It is high time to understand inclusive social development as the capacity of the States. Moreover, in the 2017 UN report of World Population Prospect, it is stated, “India’s population is expected to reach 1.35 billion by 2020. By 2020, a full generation, Generation C (for connected), would have grown up in a digital world of texting, social networks, mobile devices and apps and the Internet.” Hence, let us fathom the underlying opportunity to set agenda and develop tools to ensure inclusive social development in India through digital media. As discussed above if the State has to ensure inclusive development, there are many aspects of digital media that we have to consider. At the awakening of digital transformation of India, it is a great opportunity to study and decipher digital media’s immense power to bring regional transformations and challenges lying ahead. Objective of this book will aim at providing relevant theoretical frameworks and the latest critical research in the role of digital media in the field of inclusive social development, particularly in India. Keeping in view the key areas of inclusive social development, the following Sub-Themes have been incorporated: 1. Digital Media and Illiteracy, Poverty, Unemployment and Population Growth; 2. Digital Media and Child Abuse, Child Labour and Violence against Women; 3. Digital Media and Casteism, Communalism and Regionalism; 4. Digital Media and Crime, Criminal and Juvenile Delinquency; 6. Digital Media and Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Corruption
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Children are among the social groups most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because they have found themselves forced to stay at home, far from their schoolmates, their friends, and far from all the activities they used to do before the pandemic. so, it was their only refuge for recreation during their stay in Home is staying in front of the screens of tablets, smartphones, and computers to play electronic games for long hours, and there is no doubt that the sudden shift in the lifestyle of children during the Covid-19 pandemic had serious consequences and risks threatening their stability at all levels. In light of that, the current study aimed to determine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on increasing the social, psychological, behavioral, and health risks of children's addiction to electronic games from a social work perspective. This study falls under the type of descriptive-analytical studies that are based on describing the reality of the problem under study. The study sample included 289 children in the age group 6 -17 years in the first grade to the twelfth grade at school. The researcher designed a questionnaire that reflects the four risks facing children to assess these risks. The results showed is that the value of all impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the increasing risks of children's addiction to electronic games came to a total weight of (27907), weighted relative weight of (80.47%). This indication is High, indicating that the level of impact is High for the Covid-19 pandemic on the increase in all types of risks of children's addiction to electronic games. It ranked first " Behavioral Risks " at 91.15%, It is followed by the ranked second “Social risks " at 85.5%, Then came third place " Psychological Risks" at 80.91%, and in finally in fourth place " Health Risks" at 64.28% , which necessitates the need to take a set of serious measures by educating parents to monitor the content of electronic games that their children play, especially violent games, in addition to, reduce the number of hours the child spends practicing these games, and to encourage parents to form a bridge of communication and constructive dialogue between them and their children, and that parents put controls and restrictions on their children's practice of electronic games to confront abnormal behavioral, psychological and social patterns such as aggression, violence, deception, lying, imitation, vigilance, physical stress, poor eyesight, distance from practicing religious rituals, academic delay, introversion, depression, intolerance, selfishness, sadness, isolation from society, social withdrawal and lack of forming social relationships and lack of communication with others. The researcher took care that the results of the current study are very accurate and representative of the reality of the research problem, in light of the researcher's emphasis on the commitment to observe ethical rules to ensure the confidentiality of data. finally, the current study will greatly benefit researchers interested in the field of childhood and its problems and they will rely on its results and recommendations in how to protect children from the dangers of electronic game addiction in light of the Covid-19 crisis in particular.
Chapter
As mobile devices and social media presence are becoming ever more integrated into daily lives, mobile games are also becoming increasingly more popular and replacing computer or handheld games. While mobile games provide convenient and timely entertainment, gaming apps also raise privacy concerns, especially when they are linked to users’ social media accounts. This connection between gaming apps and social media often allows the gaming apps to access users’ personal information. In this study we aim to address the privacy violations that may occur in this context. To conduct this study, twenty gaming apps from the Apple Store were selected and analyzed for the types of access and information exchange between social media and the gaming apps. In particular, it was alarming to learn that social media service providers were granting that access to the third-parties as well. Our analysis reveals that all twenty of the gaming apps collected users’ personal and sensitive information, while nine of the apps not only collected personal information but also were able to modify users’ information on their profile or timeline. Therefore, the goal of this study is to identify these potential privacy violations, raise gaming app users’ awareness of these privacy invasive practices, and propose initial recommendations for social media service providers and gaming app developers to provide better user privacy protections.
Chapter
Online death games are a fairly recent public health concern of the modern technology-driven world. Various dangerous online games like Blue WhaleMalhotra, Anshu ChallengeJindal, Rajni and MOMO challenge have grown popular through social networking sites where players or victims engage in self-harming activities, often leading to death. This problem domain has not been studied in depth till date and no known technology-based solutions exist to prevent the spread of such dangerous challenges. The prime objective of our research is to explore the use of deep learning and transfer learning techniques for content analysis of user-generated posts over various social networking sites and design an early warning system which can be used by healthcare authorities for timely identification of victims of these games so as to avoid any fatalities. In this paper, we first discuss in detail the numerous challenges in building required technology-driven solutions for this domain. Next we propose a multimodal deep learning-based system for identifying victims of online death games, using state-of-the-art feature generation techniques for two modalities in user’s social media posts: image and text. To the best of our knowledge, our proposed system is the first technology-driven public healthcare administration tool for this this domain.
Chapter
Mental healthcare services are insufficient under the current circumstances due to growing populations with mental health issues, the lack of enough mental health professionals, services, and programs that are needed. Traditional methods are often time consuming, expensive, and not timely. At the same time an increasingly number of people are using social media to interact with others and to share their personal stories and reflections. In this study we examined if online users’ social media activities were influenced by their mental well-being. To carry out this research we assessed Twitter activities between participants that reported high symptoms of depression and those with lower or no symptoms of depression. Our results confirm the influence in their activities in addition to interesting insights. We believe these findings can be beneficial to mental health care providers if users’ privacy is preserved.
Article
The Blue Whale Challenge (BWC) is an online viral "game" that allegedly encourages youth and young adults towards self-harming behaviors that could eventually lead to suicide. The BWC can be situated within a larger phenomenon of viral online self-harm challenges, which may be propagated through both social media and news sources. Research has established that suicide is a global public health issue that is known to be influenced by media reporting. Violation of safe messaging guidelines has been shown to increase imitative suicides, particularly in youth and young adults. Given the confirmed effects of news media reporting, we analyzed 150 digital newspaper articles reporting on the BWC to assess whether they adhered to suicide prevention safe messaging guidelines. Overall, 81% of the articles violated at least one contagion-related guideline, most commonly normalizing suicide, discussing means of suicide, and sensationalizing. Even though the majority (91%) of the articles adhered to at least one health-promotion guideline, such as emphasizing prevention, the articles did not follow these guidelines on a deep and comprehensive level. Through thematic analysis, we also found evidence of potential misinformation in reporting, where the articles unequivocally attributed many suicides to the BWC with little or no evidence. Additionally, articles often stated an individual's reason for participating in the challenge without interviewing the individual or those close to the individual, another aspect of potential misinformation due to lack of evidence. A contribution of the current study is the synthesis of safe messaging guidelines that can be used in future research. This study contributes to the understanding of news reporting practices regarding suicide and self-harm in regard to the BWC and similar online challenges. We discuss how sensationalized news media reports on the BWC could unintentionally propagate suicide contagion effects that normalize self-harming behaviors among youth. We then examine implications for practice and policy, such using automated approaches to aid reporters in adhering to safe messaging guidelines.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, people are broadly and publicly meant to share their experiences, ideas, and opinions using social media platforms over the internet. However, social media services have positive and negative consequences depends upon the way of users using it. Cyberbullying is one of the serious problem plaguing social networking websites in several ways particularly grown between adolescents. Thus, this study will explore the hidden patterns of MomoChallenge an event and form of cyberbullying especially grown on Twitter. Social network analysis(SNA) will be used to analyze the Twitter network of MomoChallenge. Data is collected and analyzed using NodeXL an open source tool managed by a social media research foundation. In the proposed system three analysis techniques are developed for discovery of cyberbullying includes network analysis, content analysis, and Graph-based network visualization analysis. Network and content analysis will be used to scrutinize the ways by which the victims are targeted, the behavior of the users, to find how information spreads and sentiment analysis of the user tweet to detect opinion of the users about cyberbullying. Graph based visualizations are used to find the network patterns of MomoChallenge.
How To Find The Blue Whale Game
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