I was disturbed when I got an email from my friend who lives in Florida sharing a different article about this insane game that teenagers are playing that ends with them taking their lives. I asked Ty my daughter if she had heard of it and she said "yeah, it's stupid." Of course that made me feel relieved when I could see nowhere in her face or tone of voice, that she was interested in the game. But what made 130 teens to date play a game that would have them doing tasks until day 50 when they were instructed to take their own lives? Surely that's like a social media James Town mass suicide. If you haven't heard about this then please make yourself aware and have a chat with your own kids and other parent's. Read the article below and share it.
The Blue Whale Challenge originated in Russia and is currently spreading through Europe via social media, with many players thought to be as young as primary school age.
The challenge sees a ‘group administrator’ assigning ‘daily tasks’ to members, which they have to complete for 50 days.
Tasks vary from watching horror movies or listening to a certain song, to the more extreme, like deliberately cutting a certain body part.
However, it’s on the 50th day that the game reportedly instructs people to kill themselves.
Police investigating deaths
Police are believed to be investigating 130 suicides across Russia, between 2015 and 2016, which are thought to be linked to the online challenge.
Two schoolgirls fell to their deaths from the roof of a 14-storey block of flats, and another was reported to have been killed by a commuter train.
While UK police have received no incidents in relation to the challenge, they have issued a warning.
‘Hertfordshire Constabulary is aware of so-called 'challenges' like this that use the internet to target young or vulnerable people,’ a police spokesman told the Hertfordshire Mercury.
‘While there have been no reports in the county of anyone taking part in the game, we would advise parents to be vigilant and monitor their children's internet usage.
‘We would also encourage young people to block or not respond to anything online that makes them feel upset, uncomfortable or threatened.
‘As a force, we have shared our knowledge of this challenge with our partners at Children's Services so that local schools can be informed.’
Schools have also started sending messages to parents to warn them of the 'Blue Whale' trend. One school that took action to spread awareness is Danetree Primary School, in Ewell, Surrey.
'As part of our duty of care to safeguard the children in our care at Danetree we have been asked to make parents aware of a new online game that is causing serious concern for the safety of children,’ the letter to parents read.
‘However, we have no information that any child at Danetree has come across this game to date.
‘The game or challenge is called “Blue Whale” and it involves children being given a task each day for 50 days.
‘The game is presented via social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, and may come through in messages.
'The tasks start with simple things such as waking up in the middle of the night, but develop to more disturbing tasks involving self-harm.
‘The internet can be an extremely useful tool for our children and young people, however this serves as an important reminder of the need to have open conversations with your child about their online activity and actively monitor this.'
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans can be contacted on 020 7734 2800.
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