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Create awareness on Blue Whale game's dangers: SC (Lead)

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday said that awareness needs to be created among students about the dangers of online games like the Blue Whale Challenge Game and that parents and teachers shoulder responsibility to ensure that youngsters don’t get trapped.

Directing the Chief Secretaries of all states to make students in state-run schools aware of the dangers of online games, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said parents and teachers have a primary responsibility in this endeavour.

The court said this in its order on a petition seeking steps to deal with a spate of suicides by youngsters who got hooked to playing the Blue Whale Challenge Game.

The court was moved by advocate Sneha Kalita who sought a ban on the online game.

Pronouncing the order, Chief Justice Misra said it was the duty of the State to make people aware of the dangers and the same has to be done with clarity and concern.

The court said that the awareness campaign has to be not just about the game alone but on the “dignity of life”.

Pointing that parents have the “primary duty” to ensure that their children don’t get “trapped in such games”, the court observed that it was incumbent upon parents to “instil a sense of optimism and give love and affection” to such children.

An affidavit filed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said a seven-member committee headed by the Director General of Indian Computer Emergency Response Tean (CERT) was formed to investigate all cases of suicide or attempted suicide connected with the said game.

The committee has, in its interim findings, indicated that “CERT-In could not establish any involvement of Blue Whale game in any of the incidents reported to them”.

On the blocking of the ‘Blue Whale Challenge Game’, the affidavit says that since the game has no formal application, website or URL address, “there is very little scope for using technical solutions to identify or block the game”.

It said the “keyword-based filtering” would affect genuine information linked to such words.

The court was told that on August 14, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued directives to Google India, Microsoft India, Facebook India, and Yahoo India to ensure that all links of the game and of similar games were immediately removed from their platforms.

The social media platforms were also told to report to law-enforcing aencies the proponent of the Blue Whale game.

The court was told that these social media platforms assured of cooperation.

The Supreme Court had, on October 27, directed national broadcaster Doordarshan to bring out a 10-minute programme on the perils of the game in consultation with the Ministries of Women and Child Development and the Human Resource Development.

The court had said that such online games posed danger to life and must be “contained”.

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