The government has launched its own game application for children in a bid to counter incidents of cyber crimes against children due to dangerous games like ‘blue whale’ and ‘momo’ challenges.
The ‘cyber trivia’ app would have a set of multiple choice questions and children would rewarded points based on their answers, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said.
“It is an attempt to teach these children in a fun way what should be done if they are contacted by a stranger on the Internet who might ask for their pictures or ask them to do things,” said Yashwant Jain, a member of the NCPCR.
The game has been developed amid rising cases of suicide by children due to challenges like ‘blue whale’ and ‘momo’.
“The children these days outsmart even their parents. They do not understand the dangers the cyber world poses and teaching them about it would not help them understand the dangers as online games would do. That is the reason we decided to develop this game,” Jain.
The blue whale and momo challenges led to suicides of several children in India as well as world over.
According to advisory issued by the government, in these games, the creators seek out their victims who are in depression and send them an invitation to join.
The basis of the challenge is that an anonymous “group administrator”, otherwise known as “the curator,” hands out tasks to selected “players” that must be completed, documented and posted during a period.
Players of the challenge can’t stop playing once they’ve started; they are blackmailed and cyber bullied into completing the “game” an the final step is suicide, the advisory said.
In a bid to counter these dangerous games, Cyber Trivia has been launched. It would be soon made available on app stores, Jain added.
Sujatha Sharma, a child psychologist, said the cyber trivia is based on behaviour modification technique.
“The app is based on behaviour modification technique under which we use a system of rewards and punishments to encourage positive behaviour and discourage negative behaviour. It is a standard technique of behaviour modification therapy,” she said.
She said the game might interest younger children but to capture the interest of teenagers it needs to evolve.
“This game might work well with young children but it may not work so well with adolescents as they seek something more challenging and interesting. It is a good idea for young children but for adolescents the game needs to evolve,” she added.
Amna Hasan, the mother of 12-year-old Sameer, said the app might act as a boon for people like her who are not technologically equipped to understand what their children are doing on internet.
“It is very difficult to understand what the children are doing on Internet. If we ask them they think they are getting lectured by us. This app might solve that problem,” she added.