Turkish Education Ministry launches campaign against online suicide games

Turkish Education Ministry launches campaign against online suicide games

Umut Erdem – ANKARA
Turkish Education Ministry launches campaign against online suicide games

The Turkish Education Ministry has launched an awareness-raising campaign against online suicide games such Blue Whale and Momo.

During the 2017-2018 school year, the ministry trained 842,399 teachers, 57,399 school administrators, 7,294,617 students and 1,513,328 to beware of the dangers of such suicide challenge games, Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said in an answer to a parliamentary question submitted by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The parliamentary question submitted by MHP Istanbul Deputy Arzu Erdem had asked if Turkish authorities had taken any precautions against online suicide games.

Online games and video games, in general, can become addictive – a fact acknowledged by the World Health Organization, which included “gaming disorder” in the International Classification of Diseases in 2018. Several studies, including one by the American Association of Suicidology in 2011, have established an association between excessive gaming and internet use and the risk for teen depression and suicidal thoughts.

“Within the context of the fight against addiction, as a precautionary and protective work, the Turkey Fight against Addiction Training Program was launched with an execution protocol signed between our ministry and Turkey Green Crescent Society. With the program, it has been envisaged that students, parents and teachers are given precautionary and awareness-raising information in a fight against every kind of addiction,” said Selçuk in his answer.

“The trainings have aimed that by informing students, parents and teachers in the areas of tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption, drug consumption, technology addiction and healthy living, the addiction of the youth is prevented,” Selçuk continued.

Blue Whale and Momo are online games which encourage children to self-harm and even commit suicide by setting “tasks” and sending them disturbing and graphic photographs.

Claims of suicides connected with these two games have been reported worldwide.