Some international news sources have recently posted about a disturbing “game” popping up on social media called the Blue Whale Challenge. The game is described as a 50-day challenge during which teens complete a series of risky, dangerous tasks with the final challenge being for the participant to commit suicide. Reports indicate the tasks also include sitting on the edge of a roof, as well as watching horror movies and waking up at uncommon hours.
The challenge is believed to have resulted in deaths both in Russia and in Spain, but these reports have not actually been verified. Police in France issued an alert for teens and parents on their verified twitter account however that, translated, is a poster that reads in part, ‘don’t allow yourself to be influenced. The game is not worth risking your life”.
As a precaution however, schools in the US are taking notice and alerting parents to this potential deadly threat. The Blue Whale challenge is not an open hashtag, however, which means that parents can’t necessarily search their child’s accounts for it. It takes place underground where game masters send participants tasks.
What parents can do is monitor their child’s online activity and conversations and notice any change in their behavior. Additionally, if the frequency of their online activity changes it could mean they’ve set up new accounts.
It’s also important to recognize signs of depression and suicide which could include:
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Feelings of helplessness
- Changes in attitude
If your teen or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).