If there is ever an era, which has seen the reign of bizarre social media challenges like none other; this has to be it. Just as attempts are being made to avert the viral yet inane KiKi Challenge (inspired by celeb Canadian rapper Drake’s chart busting track In My Feelings from his recent album Scorpio), there seems to be another in the offing — pegged as a Momo Challenge, which surfaced post the recent death of a 12-year-old Argentinian after she took on the afore mentioned challenge. Functioning along similar lines as that of the infamous Blue Whale Challenge, the Momo Challenge entails a display picture of a scrawny woman with bulging eyes. Its account and number circulates through prominent networking mediums like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube.
The challenge, allegedly, kick-starts with a text from Momo, who sends disturbing images to the recipient, who is threatened of dire consequences on non-participation. We take a deeper look at the social media ‘challenges’ that are posing a great threat to the lives of millennials world over.
“I’ve been reading up a lot about these social media challenges, and I feel many of us have lost the plot when it comes to using social media,” begins 29-year-old author Banani Dhar. She adds that the medium should mostly be taken in a lighter vein. “I feel trolls, challenges, and everything in between make up for some great time-killing entertainment. If you are going to be sensitive and partake in everything that’s ‘trending’ online, you shouldn’t be on it in the first place. Adolescents with identity issues only fall prey to this. The solution is finding something else to direct your misplaced energies and keeping yourself informed for a fresh perspective. Help is only a call away, so do communicate if you ever find yourself being approached or lured by such challenges or people in favour of them.” Citing instability and how a lot of us overlook weak mental health, author Sudipto Das opines, “Make yourself stable from within, through the right education and value system. Young users need to make a clear d
emarcation between virtual and real life. When the line blurs, people tend to get carried away and untoward results follow. That is the only way forward,” opines Sudipto Das, an entrepreneur and author.
Expert views: While it is crucial to spread awareness, the whole idea of acting upon such bizarre requests stem from underlying low self esteem issues. Dr Karthik KN, consultant psychiatrist, Sagar Hospitals, adds, “We need to understand that someone who is not strong mentally and psychologically unfit is more vulnerable to such bizarre acts and challenges on the Internet. Teenagers who have difficulty in controlling impulsive behaviour tend to take such challenges and measures. Consulting a therapist/psychiatrist is the best way to deal with such a situation. Involvement in regular sports is another way to learn and control impulses, and also channelise the energy in a constructive way.”
Implying how such social media challenges often target teenagers who crave for acceptance; Sanaaz Doust, a counselor at Inventure Academy states, “The feel good hormone i.e. dopamine encourages teens to indulge in activities that help seek approval from their peers as well as to seek pleasure through such risk-taking behaviours. In times where media has such a high impact, it’s a wake up call for us to start engaging in early and open conversations with our teens, to create an awareness about the hazards and risks involved and to keep them informed that help is always available to them.”
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