Online suicide game ‘not to be ignored’

2017-05-26 06:00

AN online game, which dares teenagers to commit suicide online, reportedly hit South African shores last week.

The game, which originates in Russia, sent shock waves through social media last week and while some discarded it as fake news the South African depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) warned it should not go unnoticed. Sadag operations director Cassey Chambers said while it seemed improbable that anyone would participate in such a game it was important to remember that adolescence is a “turbulent time” and encouraged parents and teachers to discuss the topic with their teenage children.

“The teenage brain is still developing and emotions are intense. Teens engage in experimentation, they may have a fragile self-esteem, and the peer pressure at that age should never be underestimated,” said Chambers.

Previous reports have described the game as an uncanny 50-day challenge where players are presented with a series of tasks including self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at odd hours of the night, eventually leading to the 50th day where the player is instructed to commit suicide. Social media expert Verlie Oosthuizen said there was been very little proof of the game’s existence.

“It’s such an extreme example. The way it was described was also very outrageous. We’d like to think that people have enough sense not to participate in such a game.”

Oosthuizen said that dangers facing teenagers were primarily related to cyber bullying and revenge pornography.

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