“It is sad to see young boys and girls falling victims to this self-destructive game – blue whale challenge. We all have to be extremely vigilant for our children who are becoming victims. I am sure that if all teachers become vigilant and keep a sharp eye on the behaviour of their children, we can prevent further damage. I urge to monitor the activities of the children and to dissuade them from falling prey to such online games. In case you notice any symptom in any child, please get in touch with his/her parents. You can also report the incidence on Childline at telephone number – 1098.”

Above words are directly taken from Maneka Gandhi’s (Union Minister for Women & Child Development) letter which was sent to all the schools across India on 31 August 2017 as reported by The Indian Express.  She sent this letter soon after the deaths of 7 children who played Blue Whale Game and committed suicide.

What is Blue Whale Challenge?

Blue Whale Challenge is a game or challenge played by an individual in which one has to complete 50 tasks which are assigned and monitored by a curator. The job of the curator is to supervise the participants by asking for photographs after they complete the tasks. The final task is to commit suicide!

In short, Blue Whale Challenge is an alga existing in the society which we need to remove ASAP. Kids who play this game have given up on themselves but not on the internet.

Also read: Why you should not post your kids’ photos/videos on social media

The job of a curator in the Blue Whale Game is to blackmail and bully the participants by threatening to hurt their family.

Blue Whale Game – Tasks

I will refrain myself from writing anything descriptive about various tasks and challenges involved in this game. It should be media’s utmost responsibility not to sensationalise such heinous acts. But, It’s important to provide you a glimpse of tasks involved in the Blue Whale Challenge.

Any participant, who joins this wicked game, has to complete a series of 50 tasks. The severeness of these tasks increases with levels. There are several unknown curators or admins in this dare-based game who supposedly certify the completeness of any given challenge.

A participant may get an easy task in the beginning such as waking up at 4:20 AM, watching horror videos, listening to psychedelic music sent by ‘them’, etc. Gradually, it grows on to sitting at the edge of the rooftop, carving a blue whale in your hands using a sharp object.

Finally, the last task is to commit suicide.

The origin of Blue Whale Game or Challenge

The Blue whale game was started in Russia in 2013 on their biggest social networking website called VKontakte by a curator called Philip Budeikin.

He was pleaded guilty for inciting the deaths of 16 teenagers and is currently in prison.

When asked about why he did it, he replied that he was cleansing the society by making the teens commit suicide who according to him, had no value.

Deaths so far by playing Blue Whale Challenge

Deaths in India

  • 26 July 2017 – First death reported in India from a city called Trivandrum in Kerala. A 16-year old boy who committed suicide after deleting all his mobile data.
  • 30 July 2017 – Second suicide, this time in Mumbai by a 14-year old boy
  • August 2017 – 6 suicide attempts, out of which the local people or Police were able to save only two of them
  • 2 September 2017 – Another suicide in Ahmedabad area by a 20-year old boy who recorded a video and said that he was bored of his life after he ran away from home by stealing Rs. 46,000.

Deaths in the World

There have been more than 150 cases of suicide attempts reported so far across the world. This plague of blue whale challenge has reached more countries than you can even imagine – US, UK, Russia, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, India, China, etc.

How can we prevent it?

Well, history has taught us that there are pros and cons of a developing world and each nation has to go through a lot of menaces while dealing with development. Social media tools and internet are no different.

We are more connected than ever before. However, incidents such as teen abduction via social media, Blue Whale Challenge, etc. have shown us the dark side of being too social on the internet.

We made Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and other social networking tools for networking socially, sharing ideas and building a social community. But things like Blue Whale Game make us wonder if the teens below 18 should be given open access to the internet and social media or not!

How do the curators target these kids?

To prevent such cases from happening, we must understand how the curators are targeting these kids?

Nowadays, even my 6-year-old nephew knows how to watch videos on Youtube. He can even download any application or video on a smartphone. Parents often love these acts but then they should understand the openness of  things on internet and monitor their kids’ activity.

Generally, the curator contact the teenagers after seeing their Facebook or YouTube comments, through Sarahah or similar apps. What we should understand is that these people are cyber bullies. So, if your child talks about any social platform that he’s active on, find out what’s the credibility of that particular website or application.

Steps to take for prevention/precaution – For Parents, Teachers, Friends

  • Please keep your eyes open in case of any uncommon activity by your friend, son/daughter, or student
  • The signs of such activities will be quite visible – Marks on hands, chest, getting up at 4:20, etc.
  • Please note that being strict with the kids is not the right solution to this problem
  • Connect with the children on personal level, find out what they think about such things, make them aware of the social hazard
  • Counsel them if they are worried about something
  • In Brazil, a publicity agent created a movement called ‘Pink Whale Challenge’ which was a counter to the Blue Whale game and focused on tasks that promote the value of life!
  • If you sense any Blue-Whale-Challenge like activity nearby, then call on below numbers.
    • Please call on “1098” – Child Helpline to report any such activity in India
    • Call “1-800-273-8255” – Helpline in the US
  • Please read the FAQs released by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (Govt. of India)
  • Please read the FAQs/Info provided by UNICEF

Note to children

  • If you see anybody contacting you through secretive channels, or if asking for your number for adding on any WhatsApp group. Please share this with your friends/teachers/parents.
  • Please note that nobody can threat you or your family for not completing a stupid task!
  • Committing Suicide is only an example of cowardice. It neither shows daring nor guts, only, cowardice! Trust me; you will gain zero sympathies/empathy by performing such a task.

Conclusion

We are living in an era where time is the biggest crunch for most of us. Joint families are almost non-existing and even nuclear families have working parents.

This has highly affected the upbringing of the current generation of kids, the values and culture. There is a dire need of giving a personal touch when it comes to giving attention to your kids.

If you build a strong personal bond with your kids, they will be more open to share their personal thoughts with you. And then, it will be very unlikely for games like Blue Whale Game to influence your kids more than you.

Also, as a responsible citizen of the country, and a good neighbour, it is our duty to be vigilant about such atrocious activities like Blue Whale Challenge.

Please share this post with all your loved ones!