Parenting Kids In The Age Of The Blue Whale – How Do You Protect Your Teens?

Posted: January 16, 2018

As a mom of 2 kids who will soon be teens, I worry about the dangerous trends like the Blue Whale game – what do I do to protect  my kids?

Being a mother of 2 acts as a constant motivator for me to be in sync with all that is happening in the world around us. To add to that, I also feel responsible toward all the parents and schools that I connect with because of my work. ‘Transparency’ and ‘integrity’ are the keywords here.

Over a period, a few of the parents who approach us when searching for schools move from the ‘work’ category to that of ‘friends’. One such friend is the mother of a teenager (totally feel the pain!).

Teens have always been rebellious; we all know that, right? Sleep evades them at night and gadgets are their closest friends. For the sake of convenience, I will refer to my friend as Priya and her daughter as Tish. So, Tish is mercurial; it is as though she suffers from a kind of ‘adolescent fever’. She is 14 years old, (almost an adult…she says). Priya is a working mum so obviously on a perpetual guilt trip. To add to that one hears of the most horrific stories about teenagers and their acts of aggression. Priya is in a constant state of worry.

So, Tish is under the microscope 24/7; her behaviour under consistent scrutiny. But it leaves me wondering if this ‘policing’ is any good… can it predict the future? As a mother of future teens, my brain is on a constant overdrive. With the current situation being so miserable, what would happen 10 years later?

I read articles that talk about a 14-year old killing his classmate as an act of bullying; then there is someone who kills his mother and sister because he felt that his mum did not love him enough. Really??? There is the infamous incident where some senior slit the throat of a 7-year old because he wanted school to declare a holiday. The list continues and gets even murkier. So, I read of 2 -year old girl getting raped and killed; a 4-year old molested by a 5-year old… it makes me shudder!

We all know of the teen boy who comes across the online game, The Blue Whale. He is asked to complete one challenge after the other. He accomplishes every task and keeps moving forward. The last challenge in the series is to commit suicide. The innocent soul takes a picture of himself at the top of a building and jumps. Goosebumps…

As a parent and the founder of a ‘parent/child oriented’ website, I ask myself – Why this ‘blue-whalism’? What is in it for them? Our teens crave for social rewards, particularly the adulation and respect of their peer group. I feel that maybe doing something different gives our teenagers a pseudo sense of acceptance and belonging to their friends. They might also be in a state of constant inadequacy or incompetence due to various reasons. Maybe, they are not happy with the way they look, or that they are not doing great at school, or that they are not popular enough.

More so, teens are a warehouse of raging hormones, further supercharged with the adolescent attention & attraction to the opposite sex. Most of their actions are impulsive, completely ‘in the moment’. Based on my observations, I believe that teens love to take risks. They want to win, irrespective of the consequence. There is an incessant quest for new, exciting or perilous tasks. Gaining an enviable place in their peer group and being a winner outweighs any risk, whatsoever.

Having thought aloud (above), an advice that I have for everyone (including yours truly) is that COMMUNICATE with your teens, without being judgmental. Let them take their own decisions and learn from their mistakes, but always have their back. Be supportive, yet pull back the reins when needed. Make them feel secure and unique. Inculcate compassion, respect and empathy in them. Remember, they do not need perfection, they need you!

Image source: shutterstock

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Pooja Kedia is the founder at SchoolWiser.com - Where Parents Discover Great Schools! From London

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