A recent news report indicated that the “Blue Whale Challenge” is taking social media by storm, tempting teens in several countries. To “play,” participants complete a series of tasks assigned by administrators, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide. The so-called “game” is said to exploit teens who are especially lonely or depressed by using psychological strategies to control teens’ minds. Both administrators and players need to be freed from the hideous influences that would impel anyone to promote or participate in such a game.
While parents can do much by spending time with their children, monitoring their uses of social media, and taking swift action if they see their children growing more secretive or isolated, what else can be done to protect youngsters from the rise in this game’s popularity? To me, the openness to manipulative, destructive influences suggests a deeper, spiritual need – in particular, a need for a spiritual understanding of how God, as an all-loving divine influence, enables both children and adults to better defend themselves.
The influence of God, divine Mind, inspires good only. Divine Mind always leads to life, liberty, and peace, and is the actual source of these qualities. No negative influence of the human mind can overpower God, good. When committing to being influenced only by God, a person can prove the impotence of any other so-called power. This commitment also enables one to help others find their freedom from entertaining dark thoughts.
I saw this in my experience as a corrections counselor to neglected and delinquent youths. This was sobering work as it was widely accepted that for some of these youths, the agency where I worked was the last hope of getting them on constructive paths away from drugs and crime. So that I would know what to say and do to truly help them each day, I prepared by praying for humility. I also held closely to several spiritual ideas that came to me based on my study of the life and teachings of Christ Jesus and the writings of the Christian Science founder, Mary Baker Eddy. I was persistent in rejecting the assertion that God’s children could be influenced negatively and separated from Him. I acknowledged the God-given, spiritual nature of each of us and the innocence, joy, strength, and self-government that we all must naturally express as God’s image and likeness. I affirmed that God, good, is ever present and all-powerful, and that there is no power that could cause a person to resist good. Most important, I strove to let such prayer guide my motives so that my actions patterned good more consistently each day.
One example in which such preparation proved powerful was when a young man drew a knife on a student intern and threatened her verbally. Observing their counseling session from another room, I immediately went to the scene. In the seconds it took to get there, I affirmed that God is omnipotent and omnipresent, the one Mind governing each of us. Entering the room, I felt calm and said to the young man, “Put away the knife. You’re not going to hurt her.” He obeyed and allowed the intern to leave without another word. Despite years of violent confrontation and crime, that marked a turning point for him. He changed his demeanor and behavior, and I was able to secure a job for him. Further, he did so well that his boss even said he was dependable and a great role model, and he earned his way to a leadership position in the company.
Prayer, whether for a specific situation or for the world as a whole, is not a matter of one human mind attempting to reach another human mind. Rather, it involves a clear recognition that God, the divine Mind, alone governs and communicates truth to His children. It is the realization of God’s ever-presence and all-power that silences wrong thinking in all its forms, and reveals the one and only influence to be the divine influence, always leading to that which is spiritual, pure, trustworthy, and satisfying.