These days, many people have come across the blue whale challenge. But what is it and how it works? Why it is so dangerous? Why people, mostly teenagers are committing suicide because of this game? What do you need to do in this game? What are the preventive measures?
The Blue Whale game was created by a former Russian psychology student Philipp Budeikin, in the year 2013, aimed to clean the society by pushing to suicide, those he deemed as having no value.
The term Blue Whale came from the phenomenon of beached whales, in which whales strand themselves on land, usually on a beach. This phenomenon is linked with suicide, as beached whales often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers there blowhole.
The game was published by F57. F57 is one of the names of the so-called death group of VKontakte, a Russian online social media and social networking service, with around 410 million accounts.
What is it?
The game is based on the relationship between the players and the administrators. This is far more than a dare game, which is spreading like a virus in the cyber world. It involves a series of tasks given by the administrators that players must complete, usually one per day, some of which involve self-mutilation.
All these tasks are to be completed within 50 days, which include:
- Walking up at 4:20 A.M.
- Climbing a crane or a tower.
- Carving a specific phrase on the person’s own hand or arm, commonly etching a blue whale on your skin.
- Poking a needle to the arm or leg.
- Standing on the edge of a bridge or roof.
- Listening to music, and watching videos sent by the administrator to the players.
- The final task results committing suicide.
Unlike all other applications and games, the Blue Whale game isn’t available in the Google Playstore or iOS App store. The application is downloaded from a Russian social media platform, where players sign up for a profile and then put out a public post expressing their interest in playing the game. The curators or the administrators find the person, who generally track certain specific hashtags that catch their interest. The most commonly used are:
- #wakemeupat420 etc
As per a few reports, the curator selects teens through a personal chat and are asked repeatedly, if they are sure to begin the game, and are warned that the only way they win is by harming themselves which may lead to death. The challenge begins if the player persists.
Once the game begins, curators give them a task daily, for a period of 50 days, and they are supposed to share photos of the tasks or the challenges completed by them, to have a proof of completion and authenticity, which they can use for their benefit. If the participant is hesitant or doesn’t want to continue, the curators threaten to harm, or kill them, or their loved ones by making them believe that they have the details of their family and friends, and forcing them to continue the game.
Deaths and impacts
The very first incident took place in 2015, in Russia, when a girl named Rina Palenkova shared a selfie just before stepping in front of a train. As per the Russian media, this social media game has been responsible for the death of more than 130 teenagers in Russia in a period of 6 months, November 2015 to April 2016.
Confessions of the creator
When Budeikin (creator of Blue Whale game) was asked if he really pushed teenagers to suicide intentionally, he said
“Yes, I was truly doing that.
Don’t worry, you’ll understand everything.
Everyone will understand”
(Translated from Russian)
In another interview, he said
“There are people and there is biological waste.
Those who do not represent any value for society.
Who cause or will cause only harm to society,
I was cleaning our society of such people.”
(Translated from Russian)
He also claimed that he gave those people warmth, understanding and contact, and those teenagers committed suicide because of him, by adding, they died happily.
In late 2016, Budeikin confessed that he convinced about 16 young girls to end their lives, resulting his arrest, and was sentenced for 3 years of imprisonment for inciting teenagers to kill themselves.
Reactions and preventive measures
As teenagers are at the most vulnerable stage as at this stage, hormones take over their intelligence. They want to do something thrilling and become popular through social media platforms, seeming to be one of the easiest option to indulge in these popularity stunts. Teens should exercise more caution before sharing any personal information such as their address, pictures or anything else on their profile because this gives cyber criminals a chance to bully and threaten them.
After the outbreak of this game in the world, councilmen around the world expressed their deep concerns about the phenomenon, and described the game extremely dangerous.
In response to the game, a Brazilian designer and a publicity agent created a movement called “Baleia Rosa” or the “Pink Whale”, which is based on the positive tasks that value life and combat depression.
Many government agencies directed several internet companies to remove all links which direct users to the game.
As this killer game is spreading at an alarming rate, teenagers should become cautious. Society needs to take corrective steps to guard the teens against these cyber threats and provide mental health by diverting their focus towards creative activities.