Blue Whale scare : Smartphones banned in schools

In a bid to keep students away from the deadly Blue Whale challenge game, the DIoS on Sunday banned the use of smartphones in schools and asked teachers to keep a watch on the behaviour of students.

The district inspector of schools’ (DIoS) move comes after the dreaded game claimed the life of a city boy on Thursday last and several other youths across the country in the last few weeks.

DIoS Mukesh Kumar Singh has asked school teachers to carry out random checking to ensure that students do not have the Blue Whale game marks on their hands.

“Schools should make it a daily practice to check the hands of students. The idea is to keep them away from Blue Whale challenge – an online dare game linked with the deaths of teens, including a student from Lucknow,” he said.

The DIoS also appealed to parents and guardians to monitor their wards and ensure they stay away from the game. “If a child appears tense or behaves abnormally, the school should inform his/her parents and provide proper counselling,” he said.

In August, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had issued a circular to 18,000 schools affiliated to it, asking them to install effective firewalls, filtering and monitoring software mechanisms in all their computers and regularly review filtering and blocking policies and procedures.

Some of the schools in Lucknow have already issued advisory to parents to keep a watch on their children’s online activities and prevent them from playing hazardous games.

St Agnes’ Loreto Day School has asked parents to make sure children browse the internet for content appropriate to their age. “Most importantly, spend time together as a family, leaving all channels of communication open,” read the WhatsApp message sent by the school principal to parents on Friday.

Other schools are also discouraging students from hazardous internet games. Concerned over suicide by children due to Blue Whale challenge, director general of police (DGP) Sulkhan Singh had earlier ordered a ban on the game across the state.

“The ministry of electronics and information technology as well as ministry of home affairs has directed the state governments to impose a blanket ban on Blue Whale game,” Singh had said.