Blue Whale Challenge: How parents, teachers, and others can help teenagers in crisis

Every day, we hear of so many crime reports from across the world. Most of these happen in the ‘real’ world, where the perpetrator and the victim occupy the same space. But now, we have another world to worry about – the virtual world. One in which it sometimes becomes impossible to tell who the perpetrator is.

Cybercrimes and bullying are becoming serious concerns. Although they are conducted in the virtual world, they hold the power to impact the physical world. What might seem like a simple rant on twitter or an emotional quote on instagram or snapchat can influence a large number of people in the actual world. The most vulnerable to online bullying and cyber crimes are children and teenagers who have access to all manner of information on the internet, but are not always mature enough to be able to handle it. Hence, it is so very important to educate not only children and teens but also adults on how to be responsible and how to guard themselves against these crimes.

The Blue Whale Challenge is not very different from what any criminal in history has tried to do in the physical world. One man takes upon him to rid the world of the people he thinks don’t deserve to live. Teenage is a most vulnerable time in the life of a person; as the person is struggling with identity issues and still trying to figure out who they are. This makes them especially susceptible to online crime and emotional abuse, such as the Blue Whale Challenge.

 

Teens are known to experiment and take risks because of peer-pressure, parental and school expectations or media influence. Now with their accessibility to the virtual world they are being attacked and bullied via social media platforms also. It is important to understand that their struggle is one of self-esteem, the need to be understood and accepted, and having a sense of worth, wanting to matter to the world around them.

Parents, teachers, and care-givers must understand that once we help them in the real world to reduce these issues they are less likely to fall prey to such crimes online. They will then have the strength to say no, stand-up for themselves, identify and report abuse not only in the physical world but also the virtual world. There has to be a more active role that each one of us needs to play in spreading awareness about how to combat these crimes and protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Low self-esteem, disconnecting with friends, wanting to be alone, withdrawal from family members, reluctance to leave their electronic gadgets unattended, avoiding school or work, changes in personality (anger, sadness, crying), drastic changes in appearance or weight, fresh marks on the skin or wearing clothes that hide these marks even in summers, are some of the signs that may help a caregiver, friend, or family member to identify a need for help.

In such cases, it becomes important to make the person feel that help is available without judgment. Encouraging expressing one’s feelings either in spoken words, a letter or a journal helps in releasing these amped up emotions. We must convince such teenagers that their pain is understood, that they are brave, that we respect them for who they are, and that they have done nothing wrong.

We must challenge their belief that they deserve pain by showing them compassion and support. This will help the person move a step away from harm. Also, spreading awareness about how to report abuse online, taking screen shots or saving IP addresses as proof will let them know that help is available.

We need to remember that at the end of the day we are humans be it in the real or the virtual world. Our struggles and concerns may seem vastly different from one another but they are very similar. We all have a need to be accepted and loved; and accepting and loving oneself is the first step to that. To know that it is okay to be confused or scared, but to always believe that we are worthy.

As adults, it is our responsibility to watch out for these signs in children and teenagers around us. Without trying to invade into their privacy or threaten them with dire consequences; we must show compassion and the strength to stand by them. Only by convincing them of their own worth can we protect them from these invisible monsters.

 

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Why Homeopathy for your Child?

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As parents, we have to make many important decisions for our children. Decisions that begin from the nature of childbirth, the type of food and feeding practices, to which nursery and school to put them in. Many of these decisions may seem trivial to some individuals. For instance, one may think how does it matter whether a baby is fed milk through a bottle or by using a bowl and spoon, isn’t it? It makes a world of a difference! Not only does it affect the child’s physical health but also interferes with their psychological growth. As important, and even more so, is the decision of choosing the right type of treatment for all your child’s problems.

In today’s world of speed and technology, everyone wants results. Naturally, the ways of modern medicine are very much in vogue and trending fast. All parents want the best and quickest forms of treatment for their little ones to help them overcome their complaints. But nobody is considering at what cost. Let’s just take a moment and do that.

With every change of weather, with every sip of a cold drink many children start with complaints of cold, cough, breathlessness, throat pain, fever, diarrhoea etc. for which the parents must rush them to the family doctor. Most common mode of treatment usually consists of an antibiotic, an anti-pyretic (fever medicine) and other medicines for symptomatic relief. Over a span of 3-4 days the child gets better. When we ask the doctor what it actually is, the most common answer is ‘Viral infection’. But we fail to understand that if it is a viral infection, then what is the need of an antibiotic?

For those of you who don’t know, antibiotics are used for infections that are caused by bacteria. They have no role in treating viral infections. In fact, there are no forms of treatment available today to cure a viral infection. Usually, viral infections are self-limited and are overcome by the body’s nature defence mechanism. Hence the child gets well within 3-4days. Even the most dreaded Dengue fever, which is of viral origin has no specific medicines to cure it. Lots of fluid, rest and close monitoring is all the treatment that one can give.

So why are we over-medicating our child with these medicines when they are not required? Not only do they receive the excess drug, but also should deal with its side effects ranging in a variety of gastro-intestinal upsets, weakness, loss of appetite etc. Apart from this, because of the non-judicious use of antibiotics, the bacteria soon develop resistance against the drugs and evolve to adapt and overcome the drug, hence becoming stronger. Soon the action of the antibiotics seems to be insufficient and need for higher range arises. This is a continuous process which puts the human body through unwarranted stress and susceptible to worse types of infections. Lately it had been reported that a woman from the USA who had recently been to India and got herself operated for her hip died of an E. coli infection which was resistant to 26 types of antibiotics that are available in the USA. This is just an example of the rampant rage with which bacteria are becoming more and more tough to deal with. Many researches and talks are taking place about the same. One such informative TEDtalk will help bring more clarity on the same.

Check out this you tube video

Here we can appreciate the role of Homeopathy in dealing with such situations by enhancing the body’s own defenses in overcoming the infection. Even in a bacterial infection, the body is able to combat the illness with the help of these medicines and hence the overall immunity of the child increases. Isn’t it better than supplying external soldiers in the form of antibiotics to fight our own battle? And this it does in a safe and natural manner without causing any side effects.

It is commonly seen that allergies, whether of the skin or respiratory system, are confused with infections and dealt with wrongly. An allergic response is the body’s own reaction to a certain substance which it is sensitive to. It does not possess the properties of an infection such as running a high fever or spreading it to others. This sensitive response of the body is very individual. Homeopathic remedies show wonderful results in such conditions wherein it reduces the body’s exaggerated response and in turn decreases its symptoms. The child in time develops a reduced reaction to the sensitive substance and remains untroubled.

But then comes the question, isn’t Homeopathy slow? Wont it take time to act? What about the child until then? Here is another myth that needs to be broken. Homeopathy is not slow! When administered in the right dose, it brings about a change within minutes to hours. Many acute illnesses like diarrhoea, vomiting, cough, fever, wheezing show great response to the treatment and fast recovery. Also, unlike with modern medicine, the child’s appetite is restored, his energy levels come back to normal and is back in action much faster. This is because children are known to be more sensitive in responding to Homeopathic medicines and hence, are most profited by this mode of treatment. And one cannot deny how easy it makes the job of parents in administering these sweet candylike-tasting pills to them!

With regular Homeopathic treatment, not only does the child improve quicker but it also boosts his immune system which reduces the chances of him contracting infections easily. The result is a happier, healthier child which is what every parent strives for.

By: Dr. Priyanka Joshi

      MD (Hom) Paediatrics