What I am going to say here may sound crazy but it is quite achievable. The idea came to me as I was thinking about something eating deep into our society. So, I decided to pen it down. Hopefully, this will get to the right people that will use it to create wealth and employments.
Ok, let’s look at it. A few days ago, one of my classmates in secondary school posted something in our class WhatsApp chat group. The post was about an online game that encourages its players to commit suicide. I’ve heard about this type of game some years ago but I thought it was just stories released by someone that wants media attention. So, this post in our chat group was highly debated. The argument nearly divided the house if not for the timely intervention of one of us who is a psychologist. She told us she handled a case of a ten-year old who was Blue Whale (or Blue Dolphin) addict. The child in question has gotten to the level where he/she was excited about committing suicide. The argumentative me went to Google and found out that the game truly exists and is recording more victims by the day. In fact, Blue Dolphin isn’t the only game like this.
To say I was afraid for all the children and teenagers that may be exposed to this type of game is an understatement. Honestly, I found it hard to sleep that night. My mind kept wondering how games could do so much harm and why they haven’t been pulled out of the internet. Here is what my mind kept telling me – the internet is so vast that it couldn’t be controlled easily, and that these games must be using some strong strategies to be able to influence the young ones (who know nothing about the challenges of life) to see suicide as something exciting.
Well, as we continue pondering on these games and planning on how to warn children, teenagers and parents, let’s look at what we can pick up from these geniuses turned bad.
The first thing about the survival of these games is that they understood the power of the internet. When one of my students asked me why I always asked them to make great use the internet for their assignments, I told her that the internet is so wonderful because she can sit down in her small corner and access millions of computers all over the world. Understanding this advantage of the internet means that you can buy and sell to so many people all over the world. It means that your business can be accessed by many, same way you can access so many other businesses. You can also stay in your small corner and obtain online trainings, some of which issue certificates. Today, we have a lot of free online trainings which can help you in your businesses and jobs. That is one power of the internet.
Next thing I learnt from the survival of these games is that it is hard to control things that come in and leave the internet (at least to the best of my knowledge – I stand to be corrected, please. I am learning as well). These games wouldn’t be in existence if it is easy to control what is released into the internet. A lot of people see this as disadvantageous, but I am also seeing opportunities here. When you know that your competitors cannot block your contents on the internet, wouldn’t you be happy? So, what are you waiting for? Send out those contents now and watch them fly around.
Then, here is the major thing about these games – their power to influence. If a mere game can influence people to harm themselves, then influencing people to patronise goods and services that won’t harm them will not be that difficult. All that is needed is to employ the right strategies. Different businesses require unique strategies. Locate the strategies that will work for yours and apply it.
So, what is that business you have? Have you taken it into the internet yet? What type of content does it have? Does it have contents that will attract your targeted customers? (Those games actually have very colourful backgrounds and items that children like). What about your marketing skill? What new strategy have you tested today? What about your networks? What are you doing today that will help you to reach out to many people? In summary, have you been able to turn the strategies used by these games into greater use?
Ok, here is one more bomb I want to drop before I round off. If a game can influence people to commit suicide, is it not possible that there could be games that could influence people to become entrepreneurs? What about games that could help in teaching and learning difficult subjects (like Mathematics – we don’t really have them in Nigeria)? What about games that will discourage suicide, drug addiction, crime, corruption, and other vices? Is it possible we can have games that will show people the positive way out of poverty?
Alright, I know I’m sounding like Alice in Wonderland, but don’t blame me. After all I thought that a game couldn’t influence people to take their lives. So, let’s not think that these ideas are impossible to achieve. It is left for those in hi-tech to figure a way out. And for entrepreneurs to see that this dream comes true. Remember every invention started as something crazy. So, I am not crazy after all (lol).
Please, don’t watch someone else make your dream his reality.
One more thing, if games like these already exist, kindly spread the news because we don’t know about them in Nigeria. So, bring them to our knowledge so we can reduce the troubling rate of unemployment, insecurity and poverty in the country.