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Chennai: Psychologists create Dolphin Challenge to counter Blue Whale game


By Harsha Raj Gatty

Chenani, Sep 15: As the Centre and states poise themselves for reducing the teenager's susceptibility to 'Blue Whale' game, Chennai based psychologists have developed ‘Dolphin Challenge,’ to counter its negativity. The series of 15 challenges are devised to make the player feel happy, motivated and ultimately understand the importance of life, child Psychologist David Samson, conceptualizer of the Dolphin Challenge said.

"We were shocked with the pace of negativity spread by the Blue Whale challenge. The Blue Whale challenge aims to ‘systematically desensitize’, one's fear towards death, a method used by the psychologists to make their patients overcome their phobias. Children as young as six were referring to the challenge as ‘suicide game," Samson said.

According to Samson, Philipp Budeikin, the creator of the Blue Whale used the same principles in the game.


Dolphin Challenge poster


Psychologists who developed Dolphin Challenge

Not only in India, but the cases of children, vulnerable teens succumbing to the internet based game has sparked a global outrage. In Russia and United Kingdom alone the game is said to have claimed the lives of around 130 youngsters. Recently, the High Court of Madras even directed the Central government to pull-up technological service providers for failing to comply with the Indian laws.

The Blue Whale, Samson says, succeeds in isolating the person from his family from the very beginning itself. "For instance, the moment the challenge begins it requires the child to make a cut in its arms. He or she will definitely try to hide the self-mutilation from its parents, and in the due process, the children automatically isolate themselves from their parents. Eventually, it is easy for the admin to pose different challenge to its participants and even encourage them to risk their own life and they even succeed in removing the fear of death," he says.

While Philipp Budeikin allegedly confessed to the officials that he wanted to eliminate ‘human garbage,’ a term he uses for participants of the Blue Whale challenge, Samson says he wants people to love and understand life.

“I was deeply disturbed, and one day it suddenly struck that if a challenge is invented on reverse principles, it can spread positive vibes”, he said. Thus, David an alumnus of Madras School Social Work contacted few of his friends Sundareswaran, Sindhuja Balaguru and Nizamudeen - psychologists and alumnus of the same college and created #Dolphin Challenge.

Each of the challenges are carefully crafted and are based on principles of Gestalt theory, Karen Horney and NLP Behaviour techniques & therapies. The principles in these theories are usually used to treat depressed patients and helps them fall in love with their life, explains David.

We chose the name ‘Dolphin’ as these aquatic mammals are human-friendly. Dolphins are also used in animal-assisted therapy, to help with various psychological and neurological problems such as autism, depression and various development problems, and has shown to be beneficial for the participants, he adds.

How Dolphin Challenge works

1) People interested to play this game have to use the #dolphinchallenge on Facebook and express interest to play the game.

2) The administrator gives the first task that is drawing a smiley, uploading the picture and also nominating two other people.

3) After the first task is complete, the administrator gives new tasks everyday and the player has to upload pictures to show proof.

David is reluctant to reveal the tasks as it will dampen the exclusivity of the game. However, he says that people will be asked to listen to positive music, watch good movies, communicate with family members, neighbours and hence become a positive person in the family as well as society.

How have people received it?

Negativity spreads faster than positivity, hence we ask people to nominate two others to play the game in the first task. The game was launched on September 9 and has received a great response. We have also tied up with Rotaract club of Madras Central RID 3232, as Rotaract involves youth all over the world. Sundareswaran is looking into execution of these challenges. People have responded from India and also Africa, says David.

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Comment on this article

  • Dr. Ananth Prabhu G, Mangalore

    Fri, Sep 15 2017

    Whenever you use a Hastag, the post will be visible not only to the admins of Dolphin challenge, but also to those who are secretly doing the Shark Challenge! They may contact the user claiming to be admin of Dolphin challenge, take all details from them (photos, videos or even take control of their phone by using malware) and again blackmail the youth.
    Though the intentions are good by the creators of this challenge, the flaws can definitely give a beating.
    My sincere appeal to all- stay away from these useless challenge. Challenge yourself to be a better person today than what you were yesterday. And remember, it is better being human than being dolphin!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Elwyn goveas, Valencia

    Fri, Sep 15 2017

    it is not about buying all lavish things for children.See what they doing with the gadgets.Every parents should bother to take care of their children.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Fri, Sep 15 2017

    This news is reassuring ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

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