Protecting teenagers from societal dangers can be a difficult task for parents and educators. There are already many challenges to overcome such as bullying, eating disorders, alcohol and drugs, just to name a few, but now there’s a new danger in the form of an online game called the Blue Whale Challenge. The term “Blue Whale” comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is linked to suicide.
No one knows for sure where the game originated but some believe it may have gotten its start in Russia and now exists in several countries. The Blue Whale Challenge is an Internet game that goads vulnerable teenagers into role playing with deadly consequences. To play the game, teenagers are given a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide.
The participants are told to record all of their tasks, which include waking up at odd hours, inflicting harm on one’s body, listening to psychedelic rock music etc. The Blue Whale Challenge also involves carving out shapes on one’s skin and other forms of self-mutilation. The game reportedly can be played with an app or other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc.
Police Chief James Brandon says, “Parents should educate themselves about this latest threat to our children and talk to them about the dangers of playing this deadly game. Children who are vulnerable to peer pressure should be reassured that it’s okay to refuse to take part in any activity like this and if they hear the game being talked about they should immediately report it to an adult.”
If you, or a friend, or a family member are having serious thoughts of suicide, unrelated to the Blue Whale Challenge, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. A skilled, trained crisis worker will answer the call and will be able to help. Suicide is not the answer. Talk to someone.
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A two-man team from the Southlake Fire Department has joined other firefighters across North Texas to help battle deadly wildfires.
The Texas Forest Service put out a call for help and the Southlake Fire Department answered by sending two specially trained wildland firefighters, Engineer Brent Nobile and Firefighter Seth Corder. Nobile and Corder joined firefighters from several local cities including, Fort Worth, Dallas, Weatherford and Stephenville. The teams have been working long hours to try to help control and contain the wildfires that are burning in the Texas Panhandle. The largest wildfire is burning north of Amarillo in Canadian, Texas.
This cluster of late-winter prairie fires has already burned approximately 478,000 acres of land and killed six people including three ranch hands, two of whom were a young couple in their 20s trying to move cattle away from the flames. Engineer Brent Nobile said, “There was devastation everywhere. You could drive for miles and miles and see nothing but scorched land in every direction.”
The Southlake Firefighters left on Monday, March 6 and are expected to be on the ground battling the wildfires for seven to ten days. Brent and Seth are part of a group of nine individuals within the Southlake Fire Department that have received specialized training in wildland firefighting. Fire Chief Mike Starr says, “The specialized training our firefighters receive allows us the opportunity to provide assistance to any agency facing devastating and fast-moving wildfires like these. It is critical to have a rotation of firefighters that are able to provide relief to crews that have been battling raging fires for days or even weeks.” Chief Starr adds, “This is a great partnership that allows us to come to the aid of any anyone that needs our help and support.”
The State of Texas reimburses all expenditures and any overtime incurred while Southlake resources aid in saving the lives and property of our neighbors in the Texas panhandle.
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