Blue Whale Challenge
Validity of the Blue Whale Challenge is Disputed, but Social Medias Impact on Young Peoples Mental Health is Real
of suicide game Blue Whale 'admits inciting 16 girls to kill
themselves after saying he's cleansing
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Although certain game groups on social
media have been accused of promoting suicide, they have not
been found to have directly caused an uptick in young people
taking their own lives.
There are hundreds of thousands of posts relating to the sick trend on Instagram.
Its thought a group administrator assigns daily tasks to members, which they have to complete over 50 days.
The horrific tasks include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, but these gradually get more extreme.
On the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game reportedly instruct the youngsters to commit suicide.
The NSPCC say children should remember not to follow the crowd and not feel pressured into doing anything that makes them feel unsafe.
A spokesperson said: Children can find it difficult to stand up to peer pressure but they must know its perfectly okay to refuse to take part in crazes that make them feel unsafe or scared.
Parents should talk with their children and emphasise that they can make their own choices and discuss ways of how to say no.
Reassuring a child that they can still be accepted even if they dont go along with the crowd will help stop them doing something that could hurt them or make them uncomfortable.
Is Blue Whale in the UK?
Essex Police informed a school in Basildon about the Blue Whale challenge and the headteacher wrote to parents about it.
The letter, sent by Woodlands School in Basildon was seen by Essex Live and read: We have discovered a game through the police that we feel you should be aware of.
It is called The Blue Whale Game and is played via many social media platforms.
No deaths in Britain have been linked to the game, but police officers have posted online warnings to parents.
Devon and Cornwall Police PCSO Kirsty Down tweeted: Whoever created this horrible game is sick!
Parents: Please be aware of this game talk to your children about it if concerned.
How many teenage deaths have been linked to Blue Whale in Russia?
Police are said to be probing a number of suicides across Russia which they fear are linked to the online craze.
But as of yet the Blue Whale game has not been proven to be directly responsible for any deaths.
Investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported: We have counted 130 suicides of children that took place between November 2015 to April 2016.
Almost all these children were members of the same internet groups and lived in good, happy families.
Two schoolgirls Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova, 16, fell to their deaths from the roof of a 14-storey apartment block.
Another unnamed 15-year-old girl was also critically injured after falling onto snowy ground from a fifth floor flat in the city of Krasnoyarsk, also Siberia.
For Kids: How to say no
It can sometimes be hard to stand up to your friends, so Childline offers the following tips on how to say no:1) Say it with confidence:
Be assertive. Its your choice and you dont have to do something which makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.2) Try not to judge them:
By respecting their choices, they should respect yours.3) Spend time with friends who can say no:
It takes confidence and courage to say no to your friends. Spend time with other friends who also arent taking part.4) Suggest something else to do:
If you dont feel comfortable doing what your friends are doing, suggest something else to do. Any child worried about peer pressure or online worries can contact The National Hopeline 800-273-TALK (8255) or Text 741741 "SOS"
Two days earlier, a 14-year-old girl from Chita was reported to have thrown herself under a commuter train.
A 13-year-old boy was also saved from killing himself after he was spotted perching on the edge of a roof in Lviv, Ukraine.
In all cases, state investigators are probing whether the controversial social media suicide game had influenced the girls to take their own lives.
Yulia left a note saying End on her social media page after she posted a picture of a big blue whale.
A family raced to stop a 15-year-old girl from killing herself, with the young girl reportedly now recovering in a hospital in Barcelona.
For Parents: How to talk about peer pressure
1) Create the right situation:Make sure you both have time to talk, the atmosphere is relaxed, and remember that this is a conversation, not an interrogation.
2) Listen: Avoid solely talking at them. Listen to their concerns and their experiences.
3) Acknowledge their worries: Dismissing their feelings will only shut down the conversation and make them reluctant to talk about whats bothering them.
4) Help them practise ways of saying no: Rehearsing with them ways to stand up to peer pressure and coming up with alternatives for them will build their confidence.
5) Keep the conversation going: Let them know that they can always come to you if they have more worries, and take an interest in how they get on saying no.
The Siberian Times
Yulia Konstantinova, 15, joined her friend Veronika in jumping from the roof of a 14-storey block of flats
What are police doing to investigate Blue Whale related deaths?
Cops are said to have launched a probe into the sick craze sweeping Russia the suicide capital of the world.
It was reported that two teenage boys were detained by police at the scene after allegedly filming the tragic double suicide of Yulia and Veronika.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a probe on incitement to suicide regarding the pairs death.
Disturbing online game dubbed Blue Whale has been attributed to over '130 Russian teen suicides'
In Krasnoyarsk, law enforcement recently opened three criminal cases of incitement to suicide involving schoolgirls via the groups on social media.
In all three cases, the teenagers were rescued.
One local school director told police he had received an anonymous call saying a student had joined a group of death and planned soon to kill herself.
Cops believe Veronika Volkova, 16, fell to her death on Sunday after being manipulated by sinister social media group
The police identified the girl who explained that she had joined a game and had been given tasks by the group administrator.
She did not obey the commands, which involved self-harm, but there are fears that others did.
In the Chita case, transport police confirmed the game is a possible cause of death.
Last year, an alleged ringleader named as 21-year-old Philipp Budeikin was detained, and he has been charged with organising eight groups between 2013 and 2016 which promote suicide.
Some 15 teenagers committed suicide, and another five were rescued at the last moment, according to the case against him.
What is Instagram doing to stop the game spreading?
Instagram has started showing users a warning when they search for pictures relating to Blue Whale.
When you search for the term on the network, a notification appears which reads: Posts with words or tags youre searching for often encourage behaviour that can cause harm and even lead to death.
If youre going through something difficult, wed like to help.
But directly underneath the post it gives the option to see posts anyway.
There are several shocking pictures of self-harm and even jokes about the sick game once you click through.
Some include pools of blood on the floor, while others appear to show a whale carved onto an arm.
If you are affected by any of the
issues raised in this article, the The National Hopeline
800-273-TALK (8255) or Text 741741 "SOS"
Schools Warning Parents of Blue Whale Self-Harm
The Blue Whale game has reportedly reached two high schools in Baldwin County, though officials wouldnt confirm which ones. News 5 is told some students have come forward regarding the game, though officials dont believe any students have harmed themselves playing.
According to research done by Snopes, the player signs up to follow an administrators tasks over the course of 50 days, which can include anything from cutting yourself to listening to a song. The player wins when they complete the final task, committing suicide, on the 50th day.
Peer pressure is associated with the game through apps like Snapchat. Teenagers supposedly tag each other and challenge them to play. The student then downloads the Blue Whale app, which hacks into their personal information and cannot be deleted. The app originators then threaten the teenagers with harm to their families or releasing of personal information until they kill themselves.
It is my understanding that this very dangerous game may have possibly already been introduced
on two of our high school campuses, reads the FYI post on the Baldwin County Public Schools Facebook Page.
Various media reports claim that as
many as 130 people killed themselves in Russia from playing
the game. Snopes says those claims are unproven, though they
do acknowledge the game as a potential danger.
Schools in Alabama
warn parents about Blue Whale suicide game
A suicide game presented in an app sounds like an urban legend or something from a horror flick, but unfortunately the Blue Whale Challenge is real. In fact, police and school districts have issued warnings about the app and even Instagram serves up a warning after searching for the #bluewhalechallenge.
Vulnerable young people are the targets for Blue Whale. Once the app is downloaded onto a phone, it reportedly hacks the phone and harvests the users information. In the Blue Whale Challenge, a group administrator also referenced as a mentor or master gives a young person a task to complete each day for 50 days. If a person balks at the daily task, then the personal information which was stolen is used as a form of blackmail as in do this or else your private information will be released or your family threatened. The task on the last day is to commit suicide. This is supposedly winning the game.
The 21-year-old Russian guy who
created the app claimed to be cleansing society
of biological waste but well get
back to that.
Zealand, UK warn parents about the Blue Whale Challenge
WKRG claimed , The game asks players to complete tasks, as simple as listening to a song, as drastic as cutting
WKRG claimed, The game asks players to complete tasks, as simple as listening to a song, as drastic as cutting themselves or other risky behavior. A task might be to watch a horror movie or to wake up in the middle of the night and harm themselves. Graphic videos on YouTube, which I wont link to, suggest that, within a couple days, tasks jump immediately into youths cutting themselves such as on their arm or cutting a blue whale into their leg. The young person is to take an image or video as proof that the task was completed and send it to the admin of the game.
Yesterday, police in New Zealand also issued a warning about Blue Whale; although its no longer available in the Apple App Store in New Zealand, it had been seen on Android. Waikato Police Constable Tristan Gerritsen urged parents to delete it from the phones of young people. He said, Without getting into the nitty gritty, the app is particularly nasty as it targets young people and encourages them to complete self-harm challenges and eventually suicide.
In April, Essex Police in the UK warned a school about the app; in turn, Woodlands School in Basildon sent a letter to parents about Blue Whale. Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police have also reportedly urged parents to keep an eye on what their kids are doing on social media.
The Blue Whale Challenge is not always run from an app; sometimes it is run from websites or social media groups. Blue Whale first showed up in Russia and India last year.
This February, the Siberian Times reported on several teenage girls committing suicide after being prompted to do so via the app by their master. Police were looking into possible ties to Blue Whale and the investigation included the girls social media contacts as they appeared to be in the same internet group. The report claims there had been 130 suicides of kids between November 2015 and April 2016. Almost all these children were members of the same internet groups and lived in good, happy families.
Blue Whale creator claimed to be 'cleansing society' of 'biological waste'
Phillip Budeikin, 21, had admitted to being the creator of Blue Whale. He is being held on charges of inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide. From his sick point of view, he was cleansing society; death group admins claim the victims were biological waste who were happy to die.
Budeikin has been at since 2013, perfecting his tactics. Teenagers are told to delete all correspondence in social accounts with the admins before completing the last task to kill themselves.
Anton Breido, a senior official from the FBI-esque Investigative Committee, told The Daily Mail that some kids refuse to be manipulated when given weird or boring tasks and left the group, but others who stayed were given much stronger tasks like cutting their veins, to balance on a roof top, to kill an animal and post a video or pictures to prove it.
There are horrible accountings from girls who participated in Blue Whale such as being up at 4:20 a.m. every night which makes people so tired all the time that making clear decisions is difficult and watching gory videos or videos of teens committing suicide accompanied by haunting music and screams of animals. The victim would watch until the admin commanded her to stop and delete everything. To win the game, the challenge, the young person must commit suicide.
You may have heard about Blue Whale in the past and thought it sounded too much like an urban legend, but Blue Whale is real. Its not a thing of the past just because Budeikin has been arrested; he dislikes imitators of the sick trend he set, but they exist. The Blue Whale Challenge is spreading to vulnerable young people in new areas which prompted warnings from police and school officials just yesterday.
As the New Zealand police chief said,
Hopefully this app disappears and blue whales can go
back to being the majestic creature of the deep that they
were intended to be. But until then, please be aware
of the danger and not let your child fall prey to the
Game Responsible for Dozens of Suicides in Russia?
The "Blue Whallt" suicide game hs been responsible for more than 130 suicides in Russia.
In February 2017, English-language web sites caught wind of a purported suicide game that had reportedly resulted in more than a hundred deaths in Russia. The general premise of the game, which goes by several names but is commonly referred to as the blue whale game, is as follows:
The player signs up to play the game and agrees to follow instructions over the course of 50 days.
The claim that the blue whale suicide game (named after the way whales sometimes beach themselves and then die) had resulted in a wave of suicides appears to have originated with a misinterpretation of a May 2016 story from the Russian site Novaya Gazeta. That article reported dozens of suicides of children in Russia during a six-month span, asserting that some of the people who had taken their lives were part of the same online game community on VK.com, a social media network based out of St. Petersburg, Russia:
We counted 130 suicides of children that occurred in Russia from November 2015 to April 2016 (!) Almost all of them were members of the same group on the Internet.
Novaya Gazeta reported that at least eighty of the suicides were linked to these blue whale games, but an investigation by Radio Free Europe found that no suicides had been definitively linked to these online communities:
But while the Russian-language Internet is groaning with profiles of young people playing or seeking to play the game, shocking photographs of self-injury like cutting marked with the games hashtags, and purported links to teen suicides, not a single death in Russia or Central Asia has been definitively tied to Blue Whale.
Furthermore, the Novaya Gazeta report was highly criticized at the time of its publication. For instance, the web site Meduza noted that Noyaya Gazeta arrived at their conclusion that a social media game was causing teenagers to commit suicide because several teenagers from the same social media group had taken their own lives. However, Meduza argued, it is more reasonable to assume that depressed or suicidal teenagers are simply drawn to the same social media groups, not that the groups were causing them to commit suicide:
The author of the material in the Novaya Gazeta states that the community in the social network VKontakte bring children to suicide. As a confirmation of this it lists the following fact: a few dozen teenagers who committed suicide were in groups devoted to this topic. However, to reliably establish a causal link in this case is impossible, and it is quite possible to assume an inverse relationship a teen becomes part of a group due to the fact that it is contains people who struggle with suicidal thoughts.
Although Blue Whale suicide groups have not been directly linked to hundreds of suicides in Russia, the groups do apparently exist. They originated shortly after the death of Rina Palenkova, a Russian teenager who supposedly took her own life shortly after posting a photograph of herself on VK.com. The image was widely circulated on social media, and Rina soon became the central figure of a strange cult-like group:
Social media communities such as Sea of Whales and shock video sites shared photographs of Rina and spread a rumor that she was part of a suicide sect:
These groups actively exploited the theme of suicide continued the cult of Rina Palenkovoy and published shock content: psychedelic and sinister video recording suicides. The creators of the community filled it with strange characters Hebrew inscriptions, numbers, codes, pictures and video with a strange logo (it turned out to have been borrowed from the logo of a brand of lingerie).
There is certainly reason to be concerned about groups that venerate and promote suicide, but the creator of the Sea of Whales community said that he had no interest in encouraging people to take their own lives. Rather, the groups creator says that they created the game and the surrounding lore to drive traffic to the page:
It took just one day, however, for the news website Lenta.ru to get in touch with More Kitov, the creator of the Sea of Whales community (whales commit suicide by beaching themselves) yet astonishingly, he claimed that the administrators of such groups had no interest in grooming minors to take their own lives but were merely interested in boosting their commercial profile.
Russia has a high baseline suicide rate among young people. In 2013, for instance, 461 minors took their own lives.
In May 2017, stories appeared in English-language media about the alleged creator of the game, who according to media reports remains detained in Russia. Phillip Budeikin, 21, had apparently confessed to inciting young girls to commit suicide months before (calling them biological waste, according to some reports) but we were only able to trace these claims back to a November 2016 story on one site, saint-petersburg.ru (translated):
Did you really push the teenagers to death?
This story was inexplicably picked up
months later by international tabloids (alongside claims
that the game was spreading across the world), but we remain
unable to verify any of the claims.