Shawinigan – Instagram posted its darkest side through an account that, according to information obtained by Le Nouvelliste, encouraged young people to film themselves in the act of committing acts of strangulation or self harm or to to jump from one or in front of a moving vehicle. This private account, which disappeared from social media on Thursday morning, had some 1,200 subscribers, the majority of whom would be teenagers from Center-de-la-Mauricie.
“Many young people have registered and they challenge themselves. It’s clear that these are challenges that can put their health at risk. We are working in collaboration with the Sûreté du Québec and the CIUSSS to put in place preventive measures, “explains Denis Lemaire, Executive Director of the School Board of Energy.
It is young people from Shawinigan who created this account. The Sûreté du Québec was seized of the case. “The Sûreté du Québec is aware of the existence of a group that appears on social networks where teenagers compromise their safety and / or are encouraged to commit actions considered reckless,” says sergeant Eloise Cossette, door of the Sûreté du Québec.
A file has been opened by the Sûreté du Québec station in Shawinigan and an investigation is underway, she adds. “If it is determined that criminal offenses have been committed, the file will be submitted to DPCP.”
In addition, police officer PIMS (School Intervention Program) will continue its prevention in schools. She will also meet the young people involved. “It is important to warn the public against the potentially harmful effects that such a game could have on our youth,” said Sergeant Cossette.
After being informed of the situation, the school environment went on the offensive. For example, Val-Mauricie High School sent a letter to their students’ parents warning them of the existence of this Instagram account on Wednesday. Linked students or account subscribers were also met.
“A letter has been sent to the parents and there are individual interventions that are made with the young people we have heard that they are concerned. When we have targeted students, we intervene directly with them and their parents, but when it is not targeted, there are mass interventions such as the letter that was sent. All schools are aware of the situation and the interventions that have been made. Our goal is to do as much prevention as possible, “says Lemaire.
The latter states that the account and the challenges have no connection with the schools, but that the school community should intervene. “These are challenges that are very dangerous. Necessarily, we have a citizen’s duty to intervene when we know. It has nothing to do with schools, but it is young people who come to our schools. We have no choice but to go into prevention and to intervene. Even if it’s five o’clock, we have to warn parents and inform people. ”
Even if this account has been closed, Mr. Lemaire is not deluded: the phenomenon will not disappear. “We are very aware that there may be another one that will grow as fast. But for us, what is important is to secure our young people. We know that sometimes there are young people who can be influenced, and to be the star of the school or village, they will try things that do not make sense, “says Lemaire. “These are absurd ideas. When we talk about social media, there is no good thing in there. There, we see the harmful sides of social media, “he adds.
Even if the account is closed, prevention will not stop. “We are watching with our partners how we can intervene. Already in our schools, there is awareness about all things cyberbullying. ”
People are challenging themselves through social media. Recently, there was the Bird Box Challenge, which consisted of imitating characters from this movie broadcast on Netflix, to perform various tasks blindfolded. Not to mention the “Momo Challenge” which also encouraged Internet users to commit dangerous acts.