The challenge


Social media is a double-edged sword, which must be used with caution, says Karn Ragde, while discussing the online game Blue Whale Challenge, which endangered so many young lives across India, and the world, last year.

Ihappened to read an interesting article a few days ago which was an excerpt of an interview by the father of the ‘String Theory’, Stephen Hawking, who very beautifully enunciated the grave dangers that the human race will face if ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) takes over. Well, to put it bluntly AI has already started making its mark on people, compelling them at times to act in an inhumane, uncivilised and ignorant fashion. I find no difference between AI and social media. For one, they ask whether the biggest boon or bane of the 21st Century is social media?

For youngsters like me, who grew up in the cross-over period of the 19th and 20th century can safely say that we spent many an hour in front of video games which went on to become computer games and then mobile games, but never did we have this unsettleable urge of wanting to build our lives around these digi-toys.

A table showing countrywide download of the Blue Whale game (Source:

While Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have taken over every segment of the market may it be research, information, marketing, projections and goals, networking, it is also a fact that the social media has become a curse to today’s generation. With applications like Blue Whale and other such life threatening apps created by intelligent-psychopaths, it is not long before there will be a mass genocide in the name of social media.

While we have a right to speech, we forget we have a duty to respect every individual’s personal and professional integrity. Social media has gone ahead and wiped that slate of rights and duties clean, leading to derogatory remarks being made against one another openly on a platform, on which people probably broadcast their most miniscule moves and activities.

A horrific challenge
In the wee hours of 2017, we witnessed what was nothing less than a cataclysmic series of events strung together by a thread called ‘Blue Whale’, an online virus infecting, undeletable, game for android users, which challenged a person to 50 tasks, most of which were unimaginable, including the challenge of etching a blue whale on one’s arm using a blade, and ultimately, committing suicide. Astonishingly, this curse of an application took the lives of nearly 150 children across the world. On 21st August 2017, Times Now reported an article which showcased that India ranked 1st for the highest search of Blue Whale worldwide as stated by Google Data. Below is an excerpt of the news report along with a chart which depicts the Blue Whale download in India:

“Until recently, Kolkata was leading the list of world cities that sees the highest number of Blue Whale Challenge related searches. Right now, Kochi has taken over the top position, with Kolkata moving down to Number Three and Thiruvananthapuram at Number Two. The most grim news of all is, of the top 50 cities in the world where the highest number of Blue Whale Challenge related searches are done, the top 32 positions are held by Indian cities. At this point, the list begins with Kochi (which is seeing a 100 per cent surge), and has cities like Indore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bhopal, etc. up to the 32nd position. Dubai comes in on 33rd position, followed by Bucharest, Abu Dhabi, Helsinki, etc”- Times Now

Access 24/7!
Another key feature of using social media is unlimited access. People can send as many messages as they please and stay connected 24/7. We only have to pay a fixed rate (either monthly or annually) for the internet connection. For instance, companies such as Rogers provide high speed internet connections for the lowest possible prices. Whereas, we have to pay a fixed rate per minute if we contact people by cellular phone. Thus, social media is less expensive. On the other hand, social media has changed the definition of privacy. In the past, mankind was careful not to share any private information over the internet. But now we have become so accustomed to social media that we provide all our private information to our loved ones across the internet. This can lead to an identity theft which can pose a serious problem in our lives. Strangers can steal your money, property and other assets in an instant. Therefore, we must be careful not to disclose our private information on the internet.

All in all, we have to weigh the pros and cons of social media and decide for ourselves whether we wish to use or misuse social media.

Karn Ragade

Karn Ragade is an English Language and Literature Facilitator and Examiner at the international baccalaureate. He is also a social activist who enjoys writing on various subjects in his free time.