VANCOUVER, Canada – The North Vancouver School District is warning parents about a “Gotcha” game played by graduating seniors that’s “inappropriate, illegal and could have lifelong consequences.”
Students pay a fee to join and are issued another player to target. Once a person is tagged, they are out of the game unless they strip naked within 30 seconds.
“The game is not school sanctioned and we urge parents to encourage their children not to take part,” North Vancouver District Principal Brad Baker wrote. “While the act itself of undressing in public is unacceptable, it is particularly alarming that students are capturing photos on their smart phones and sometimes, sharing the photos on social media.”
“It was brought to our attention by a parent that at some, but not all of the schools, nudity has entered the game. Since student safety is our top priority we felt it was our responsibility to advise parents,” communications director Deneka Michaud said.
The rules of Gotcha vary but in most versions it seems that school, school activities, workplaces and cars are locations that are considered out of bounds.
Players can make themselves safe from being tagged by wearing a crazy costume, or they can rejoin the game a limited number of times after getting tagged by paying a fee. …
According to a source grads in North Vancouver have been playing Gotcha for well over a decade with nudity as an option but the advent of social media has changed the nature of the game.
Baker pointed out in the letter to parents that students could potentially face child pornography charges for posting nude images from the game online.
They could also pose unanticipated problems for students later in life, he wrote.
“Once photos are captured digitally and shred in the online realm it is virtually impossible to retract them,” Baker wrote. “The photos will most likely remain accessible online for students’ entire lives, which could have devastating consequences as they apply for post-secondary institutions or career opportunities in the future.”
But Chris Small, a student at Southerland Secondary who organized about 80 students to play Gotcha this year, told North Shore News he made sure to talk to his classmates specifically about posting nude images online before the game got underway this year.
“It’s obviously something I addressed at the beginning of the game,” he said. “I said if any sort of misconduct like that happens, the game will be shut down immediately and all the money will be donated.”
Small said this year’s winning pot stands at more than $2,000, and about 50 students are still in the running. About three-quarters of the 60 or so people who have been tagged out already stripped to get a second chance, he said.
“Teenagers will be teenagers,” Small said. “It’s certainly an age where you do stupid things but we get so much education on not posting photos and the dangers of social media nowadays that we all certainly know better.
“Whether people choose to abide those guidelines or not is ultimately up to them,” he said.