By: T. Rodriguez
The Blue Whale Challenge, an online “game,” has caused the death of at least 130 people in the past six years.
The youngest victim to play the game was a 12-year-old girl, and the oldest was a 19.
It was created by Philipp Budeikin, a 21-year-old from Russia. Budeikin was going to a university studying sound engineering and psychology. After three years, he was expelled from the university. This was one reason why he created the “game” that he would launch in 2013.
He stated, “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”.
This game began in Russia. It later moved to India, and eventually the U.S. The Challenge gained publicity in the United States after a parent of a 16-year-old girl committed suicide. The family found drawings, sketches, and other clues left behind by the young woman that had passed away, connecting her death to the Blue Whale Challenge.
The victims were stalked on social media and chosen if they showed weakness by posting depressing or suicidal content. The curators of the Blue Whale Challenge would then get in contact with these new “players” and ask if they would like to play the game. They would lure them in and convince them to join. Victims would play the game to see what the outcome was; they were intrigued by the last task ahead. One major catch was that if the players tried to back out, the curator would threaten to kill their family or blackmail the player.
In the game, a series of 50 tasks must be completed, one task per day, over 50 days. The challenge would start easy; the first few tasks would be things like watching scary videos in the middle of the night or waking up at odd hours. Then the tasks would gradually become harder and more dangerous. One of the harder tasks was to carve a whale into the arm or to cut oneself multiple times. To prove that these tasks were done, the “player” would have to send video or a picture as proof to the curator. On the 50th day, the final task was to jump off a building, the player committing suicide.
Many of the players were picked because they would post on their social media or they would join chats about suicide or depression. Having social media meant that anyone, anywhere, at any age could have access to their information.
The Blue Whale Challenge brings attention to teenage depression and to possible teenage, suicidal thoughts. But attention, while important, is not enough. Family and friends must be aware of signs that their loved ones are playing the “game.” For example, when someone is in the game, to indicate that they are playing, they will put “f57,” or i_am_a_blue_whale in the bio section of any of their social media platforms. This is one way to know if a loved one is playing the game. Bringing attention to this game can help prevent more deaths of teens and children.