The blue whale challenge, a dangerous social media game, has been causing fears among parents recently. This “game” has been allegedly responsible for at least 130 suicide incidents in Russia. Most of the game’s victims were found to be teens, ages 13 to 15 years old. It’s important to note the “Blue Whale” game is not an app. Instead, it’s a challenge that takes place inside a social media group managed by an administrator.
I did a discussion in our Tech Talk for Parents Facebook group on Friday, May 5 and Monday, May 8.
Here are some quick facts on the blue whale challenge. And, some practical steps you can take to open up discussions with your kids about this and other dangerous social media games.
What is the Blue Whale Challenge
- It’s a suicide game of 50 challenges over 50 days
- Tasks range from watching scary movies in the early hours of the morning to self harming with razors to visiting high-rise buildings
- The 11th challenge is typically the day participants cut a whale on their arms and legs and send the photo to the curator of the game.
What Parents Can Do
Show your kids
- How to report harassment or abuse for the apps they use
- How to block someone
- How to keep their information private
Discuss with your kids
- Ways to say “No” (Here is where role playing helps.)
- Respect for Self
- Peer Pressure
Know Warning Signs
It might be hard for parents to understand the attraction a game such as Blue Whale would be for our kids. But, it’s important to discuss these games with our kids.
The Youth Suicide Prevention states
“Most suicidal young people don’t really want to die; they just want their pain to end. About 80% of the time, people who kill themselves have given definite signals or talked about suicide. The key to prevention is to know these signs and what to do to help.”
- A previous suicide attempt
- Current talk of suicide or making a plan
- Strong wish to die or a preoccupation with death
- Giving away prized possessions
- Signs of depression, such as moodiness, hopelessness, withdrawal
- Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
- Hinting at not being around in the future or saying good-bye
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text “connect” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741, or tell someone you trust who can get you help.
As of Friday, May 11, 2017 it appears that one of the men behind the so-called blue whale challenge, Philipp Budeikin, has pleaded guilty to inciting teenagers to suicide.