Online challenges that emerge as a public health issue for adolescents: Assessment of psychiatric comorbidity and the importance of parenting

Bahadir Turan Esen Yildirim Demirdogen Mahmut Almbaidheen Onur Burak Dursun About the authors

ABSTRACT

Background:

Online Challenge is neither an application nor an internet-based game; instead, users receive a link to it via chat groups on social media. Our aim is to identify the potential differences between the normal population and youth drawn to online challenges. These potential differences are the examining the parenting skills of parents of children who participate in the challenges and determining underlying psychopathologies through structured clinical interviews.

Method:

A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was used to obtain further in-depth information on the comorbid psychopathology of children who play the BWC and on the parenting skills. The Development and Well Being Assessment and Alabama Parenting Questionnaire was applied to the children and their families in both the control and case groups.

Results:

Two groups of children and parents were recruited: a clinical sample (case) group (n = 34) and a community sample (control) group (n = 141). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), specific phobia and CD (conduct disorder) were significantly more frequent in the clinical sample than in the community sample. The median scores for the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire (APQ) parental involvement, positive parenting, and poor monitoring/supervision subscales were significantly lower in the clinical sample than in the community sample.

Conclusion:

As far as we know, this study is the first to examine comorbid psychopathologies of online challenge-style games and parenting skills. We believe that as research into these subject increases, it will assist mental health professionals to develop prevention strategies and to manage cases resulting from the Blue Whale Challenge (BWC) and other online challenges that pose a serious threat to mental health and that have driven many young people to suicide worldwide.

Keywords:
online challenges; blue whale challenges; mental health; parenting

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