Students warned against playing ‘Charlie, Charlie’ Filed on June 5, 2015
Students warned against playing ‘Charlie, Charlie’

Called the ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge’, the game went viral over the Internet earlier this week and even caught up with school students in the UAE.

Dubai — Parents and teachers of UAE schools are cautioning students against a game promising contact with spirits and demons as it leaves them scared and traumatised.

Several parents have said that their children returned home scared after playing the game with friends at school. Called the ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge’, the game went viral over the Internet earlier this week and even caught up with school students in the UAE.

The game requires two pens or pencils placed on top of each other creating a grid with the four sectors labelled yes and no. The players pose a question to the ‘supernatural being’ named Charlie by saying “Charlie, Charlie, come play with me”. The upper pencil is expected to point towards ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

The game is easy to create anywhere with a few pencils and a piece of paper. The movement of the pencil can been explained through simple physics, with the cross arrangement providing an effective pivot for the upper pen to help it move, though this hasn’t stopped the game from achieving massive popularity.

Following the popularity of the game on social media, the Ajman Police on Wednesday decided to intervene after it was noticed that videos were being circulated excessively among students.

On Wednesday, police organised awareness lectures in schools and told students that the game was just a cinema trick.

Dr Captain Mohammed bin Hazeem Al Suwaidi, Head of Social Police department at the Ajman Police, told the students in a simple language that the game has nothing to do with devil, witches or any supernatural power. “It is only a kind of cinema trick-like,” he said.

He urged students not to believe in any video, news, or any post on social media that affects and weaken the Islamic values and culture of the people. He also told them that they need to fight this kind of intrusions that destroy thought.

Captain Al Suwaidi, said at the end of the lecture, he told students to be open with their parents and guardians and talk to them about any strange and weird things they hear or see on social media.

A parent said she was worried by the growing popularity of the game at her son’s school. “As I picked my son from school, I asked him if he played the game. He said he had played it a couple of times. Last evening, when he was studying in his room, he came running to me and told me he heard someone laughing in his room. I didn’t know of all this until then,” said Ariba Khalid whose eight-year-old has become scared.

Another concerned parent said she had warned her kids and asked them not to play any game with a pencil in school. “My son told me they are playing it in school and they get either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as answers.  I have asked him to avoid it,” said A.S.

The Charlie Charlie Challenge is growing in popularity as teens upload videos to social media of them trying to call on an evil spirit. However, according to a report by Uproxx, the challenge is nothing, but a viral marketing campaign for an upcoming horror movie.

Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications at Taaleem said: “At present, although the school counsellors are aware of the game’s popularity and origin, they are not highlighting it because of obvious reasons. However, they are being alert to the possible dangers and challenges of Internet sensations like this and monitoring the situation.”

Teachers are advising students to stay away from the game and instead participate in wholesome games and activities that do not influence them in a wrong way.

(With inputs from Muaz Shabandri)

Afkar Abdullah

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