Rumours that a “suicide game” is being played in a popular primary school in Singapore are fake, says the school.
The school in question, Rosyth School, has notified parents about the issue, and asked them to stop circulating fake news.
Rumours About ‘Suicide Game’ in Singapore School
According to the rumour, which has spread like wildfire on social media, children were being bullied in the school bus to play a “suicide game” like the “Blue Whale Challenge”.
The rules of the game dictate that children would receive “happiness” points for achievements such as being praised by teachers, and “minus” points for bad behaviour such as not doing well in spelling.
“If you get ZERO, you must die.”
Now here is where it all went wrong.
“Die” actually meant the end of the game, and an exit from the game. But a P1 child took it literally, and got worried sick thinking that it meant ending one’s life.
He informed his parents, who in turn, informed the school about it. The school investigated the matter, and asked the students to stop playing the game. It also confirmed that nobody was hurt while playing the game.
However, by then, social media had blown the whole issue out of proportion. Various versions of the “suicide game” were circulated.
According to one version, “If you get ZERO, you must die. Die by jump off building or stand in front of moving car.”
Rosyth School Issues Statement
Madam Elis Tan, the principal of Rosyth School, wrote to parents on July 24, 2018, putting an end to the rumours once and for all.
“Upon being notified of the case, the school took immediate actions to warn the students involved against the playing of the game, while investigations were carried out.
“There was strict compliance by the students and there have been no further reports of the game being played.
“The students have been counselled and advised against the compulsion of others in the playing of games, and the use of loose language, which may be misconstrued and result in fear and anxiety.
“The school would like to appeal to parents to stop circulating unverified accounts of the case.”
‘Suicide games’ and Harmful Online Trends: What Parents Can Do
In 2017, online media reported a very dangerous trend that was prevalent among teens – the Blue Whale challenge.
The Blue Whale game allegedly assigned players tasks to complete over 50 days. These tasks start off tame with challenges like watching horror shows, but progress to dangerous orders such as self-harming.
At the highest and final level of the game, the child will be instructed to commit suicide.
Some teen deaths have already been linked to this disturbing online game when youths in Russia jumped to their deaths either from high-rise buildings or in front of oncoming trains.
Viral content about self-harm or suicide is worrying. As parents, we want to make sure that our children are not negatively influenced by social media. Here are some safety tips:
1. Know the warning signs
Watch out for these signs of distress and emotional turmoil:
- Displaying out-of character behaviour
- Injuries that are unexplained
- Sudden changes in appearance, interests or habits
- Temperamental changes
- Rebellious/aggressive behaviour
- Extended absence/deliberate social withdrawal
- Struggling to pay attention/increased lethargy
- Sending/posting moody or morbid messages (including expressions of death)
2. Empathise with your child
If you notice that your child is behaving differently, start off by asking these questions, “I noticed that you…. Is there anything you would like to share?” or “Is there something troubling you?”
Be willing to listen. Take your child’s comments seriously. Refrain from trivialising their thoughts or telling them that they should not feel negative about something.
Emapthise with your child and show that you are genuinely trying to understand what’s going on in their minds. Don’t judge her or her thoughts. Be caring and kind.
3. Be aware of what your child is watching and reading
The best way to get your child to share what she has seen or read is to be more of a friend, and less of a parent. She should know that you mean only well for her, and you are ready to support her all the way.
Try to have open discussions with your children about movies and news, in a non-judgemental way. You can talk about which characters she liked or disliked, and why she felt that way.
It might also help to friend your teen on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram, just to know the kind of posts they are liking and sharing.
4. Encourage a healthy lifestyle and a wide range of coping strategies
Encourage your child to develop a sleeping routine to help them get a good night’s sleep. Let her know that there are many ways to cope with stress, such as confiding in others, sports, art, and practising relaxation and deep breathing.
Proper nutrition can also help with sleep, general health and well being. A well-balanced diet helps the body and brain to function well.
5. Encourage your child to be a positive influence
Teach your child to distinguish between real and fake news, and discourage her from forwarding unverified messages.
Encourage your child to be a voice of hope and a pillar of support for her peers instead.
If you need to reach out for help, do call these friendly helplines:
- Samaritans of Singapore (24-hour hotline): 1800-221-4444
- Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Care Corner Counselling Centre (in Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
- Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
- Aware Helpline: 1800-774-5935
Source: The Straits Times