Warning from specialists: A dangerous game became viral on the Internet

After “The Ice Bucket Challenge”, the Internet, especially the social networks are full of video recordings of a new bizarre challenge. The new game is called “Charlie, Charlie” and became viral on the Internet. In the opinion of the experts from the International Center “La Strada”, this activity is devastating for the mental state of children, so parents, tutors and teaching staff should be more careful to this game, that seems innocent at first sight.

Thousands of children and teenagers have already played the game “Charlie, Charlie”, and posted lots of videos showing the way they evoke the spirit of a deceased Mexican using two pencils. Specifically, there is a piece of paper divided in four squares that are marked with “yes” and “no”. In the middle of the square a pencil is placed on the border line, and on top of it another pencil, in a cross. Then, the child has to ask out loud: “Charlie, Charlie, are you here, can we play?”. According to the game rules, if the top pencil is moving, it means that the “spirit of Charlie” got into contact with the player, and the child can ask him questions he/she wants to get answers to. At the end of the game, the child asks Charlie to stop, saying: “Charlie, Charlie, could we stop?”, and the pencils should be thrown on the floor. The rules of the game say that this way the game is stopped.

In the opinion of “La Strada” psychologist Sanda Roşca, the activity itself, but also the videos that promote the game could emotionally affect the little ones. “After seeing the pencils moving, a little child can be impressed by the possibility of establishing a personal contact with the so-called daemons. Then his curiosity may turn into scare that will affect his emotional health, with negative consequences that are hard to predict. In case of teenagers, as a result of this game they could feel sad, after providing the character with supernatural powers and asking for answers to their questions. What happens when the reality has a different answer? Children will feel frustrated, sad and disappointed. Experimenting new things, activities and feelings is a natural development process, that is why parents, teachers and tutors should not scold a child who tried the game, but to help him/her go through the difficult moment”, said Sanda Roşca.

This opinion is also shared by the Coordinator of the platform, the only web page in the Republic of Moldova that promotes safe usage of Internet by children.

“Lately, we are often asked about the “Charlie, Charlie” game on the platform. Specifically, we are asked about where and how could the videos that promote this game be reported, in order to be erased from the Internet. We encourage the Internet users to report as dangerous any text, photo or video that promotes this game. The warning is going to be submitted to GoogleYouTubeFacebook or the admins of online platforms that host materials promoting the game”, said Angela Palancean, Coordinator of the platform.

Still, who is Charlie? There are different opinions regarding the identity of Charlie,. While some people say it is all just a trick or an illusion, others say that it could be the spirit of a deceased child, or a daemon, the game being just a form for evoking dead souls. Initially, the game became popular on the Internet, especially among teenagers in the Dominican Republic, where local authorities were alarmed by the damaging nature of the game. In this context, the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic forbade the game in schools, stating that it “threatens the physical and mental health” of students.

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