The Blue Whale game has been making major headlines over the last few days, and understandably so. This Internet challenge game has now been rightfully outlawed, but not before it was linked with the tragic suicide of several teenagers.
Blue Whale seemingly consists of several tasks that are to be completed by a participant, with the ultimate, and extremely sick aim, of inducing them to commit suicide. The game originated in Russia in 2013, emanating from a dark group that described itself as F57. It allegedly resulted in its first suicide in 2015, and there have since been several reports of copycat cases.
Philipp Budeikin, a Russian psychology student who was ultimately expelled from his university, has claimed to have invented and distributed the game. It is widely believed that Budeikin is psychologically ill, with the former student having publicly stated that his aim was to cleanse society of biological waste.
Budeikin has since been arrested, and ultimately pled guilty to being involved with the Blue Whale game. According to testimony provided by the 21 year-old Russian, at least 16 teenage girls have committed suicide as a result of playing the game. But the authorities believe that the figure may be far higher than this, with over 100 individuals linked to this grisly issue.
Worldwide interest of Blue whale game challenge
Since the game came to light, there has been worldwide interest and concern about this phenomenon. This has led to the game being purged from the Internet in an attempt to prevent further suicides, although this is ultimately difficult to do due to its nature. It seems that the makers and distributors of the so-called game have attempted to target particularly vulnerable teenagers, and sadly they have been rather successful in their brutal and morally repugnant aim.
All over the world, there have been sad reports of the Blue Whale game having a significant impact on young people’s lives. In recent days, a report emerged that a teenage girl in India had participated in the Blue Whale game, and had consequently attempted to kill herself twice in a consecutive days.
The 17-year-old from India has since been recovering from injuries that she sustained while jumping into a lake and she took a near-fatal drug overdose. The game gets its name from one of the actions that participants are requested to carry out, namely posting a picture of a Blue Whale. It is also, sadly, common for participants to engage in self harming, effectively carving a picture of a Blue Whale onto their arms.
While the game is being played, moderators effectively oversee the process and communicate with players, encouraging them to carry out a series of procedures over 50 days. The ultimate, and extremely sad, aim of these processes is to induce the young people to take their own lives.
It is hoped that the level of awareness of this game will now have a significant impact on its dissolution. Already some of the perpetrators have faced the criminal justice system, with Budeikin having received three years in prison for his central role in creating it. Many people believe that this is rather insufficient for what is an extremely deadly crime, but ultimately there are legal complexities involved with proving that the individual is guilty of the sort of serious crime that would result in a lengthy jail sentence.
While the existence of the Blue Whale game must be particularly worrying for parents, there are certain signs to look out for that can provide a clue. A sudden fixation with spending time at great heights is indicative of participation in the game, while any form of self-harm involving whale-type designs should be taken extremely seriously.
In order to induce young people to participate in the game, the curators of the content effectively used blackmail involving the families of those involved. For example, the Indian girl who attempted to commit suicide had been told by the creators of the Blue Whale game that if she failed to complete a task that the mother would die. Obviously in the extremely vulnerable psychological and emotional state that she was in, this induced her to participate in the game, nearly reaching its deadly and sobering conclusion.
Om Prakash, who works in the area near where she attempted to commit suicide, had observed the girl crying shortly before her suicide attempt. He told NDTV: “She was crying. I realized she was going to jump into the lake. I ran behind her and tried to stop her. I started talking to her and asked her what’s the matter, she said ‘my mother will die’. She said her game was nearing the end and if she did not complete her task her mother would die.” She then immediately jumped into the lake, but thankfully Prakash was able to save her.
Involvement of authorities
In Britain, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has got involved with the Blue Whale game, releasing public statements on the subject. The society emphasizes that it is important for your people to remember not to follow the crowd, or feel pressured into doing anything that makes them feel unsafe.
There has been a major investigation into the Blue Whale game in Russia, with the authorities clamping down on the amoral individuals who perpetrated it. Colonel Irina Volk, of the Russian Interior Ministry, indicated that the so-called death group administrators involved in the Blue Whale game were sometimes communicating with dozens of young, vulnerable people at once.
“This administrator was sending particular tasks – often life-threatening – to each of several dozen members of the group. In contrast to similar groups, teenagers in this group were blackmailed with death threats against them or their relatives for not completing the tasks.”
The tasks involved in the game are deliberately intended to create psychologically traumatizing situations, with the children effectively being prepared to be in an emotional state to be willing to take their own lives. This is obviously extremely disturbing and upsetting, but it is hoped that now the game has been exposed widely in the mainstream media that it can be eradicated, and many lives will ultimately be saved.
Participants in the game are expected to share social media photographs of the challenges and tasks that have been completed by them. These begin with relatively easy and innocuous tasks, but eventually move towards the disturbing, dangerous and deadly.
Although this has been a widely publicized phenomenon, there is still uncertainty over how participants actually played the Blue Whale game. Some believe that it involves an app installation on a smartphone, with others stating that communication through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are essential. A number of different hashtags – #bluewhalechallenge, #curatorfindme, #i_am_whale – act as signals for the anonymous curators.
Schools have become involved in the fight against the Blue Whale game, with police officials in Europe and America issuing advice to parents urging them to be vigilant. In particular, it is advisable for social media activity to be closely monitored, as it is strongly believe that this is essential to the Blue Whale process.
Now that it has been widely exposed, hopefully the Blue Whale game will die out.