An item of concern that came to my attention this week reminded me of how vigilant we, as parents, must be around our child's online activities.
The one I was reminded of is the Blue Whale Challenge; it was widely publicized a few years ago and is a 50-day "challenge" with increasingly harmful acts ending with the participant dying by suicide. Even more horrifying, the challenges are encouraged to be documented digitally and the administrator of the site where the challenge is accessed will threaten users once they begin if they don't complete challenges. Vulnerable children may feel compelled to complete the acts without intervention. The acts consist of initially waking at 4:20 AM and watching a scary movie and progresses to carving a whale into their skin, etc, etc.
This is not trending in our area, nor is it widespread, however, it is something for parents to be aware of. Below is one of the best articles I have read about this online predatory behavior:
I recommend that parents check in with children about these trends, ask about what their friends are up to and if they know any of their peers who may be at risk or who they worry about. Ask about other trends or behaviors that peers are doing. It is truly a small community and we need to look after each other and each other's children.
To end on a positive note, it is really enjoyable to watch your children growing and visibly changing from just a few short months ago when they started school. It has been such an honor to see them challenging themselves in chorus, band, drama, basketball, skiing, peer support groups, leadership opportunities, prevention and empowerment groups to name just a few. We so enjoy them every day!
As always, feel free to email or call me with any questions or concerns you have about your child or children. Thank you, Jessica
Jessica Dambach, MA
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Peoples Academy Middle Level School Counselor
802-888-1401 ext. 6144