What Is The Blue Whale Game?
It's described as a game, but the Blue Whale Challenge is far from a game. Young teens who accept the challenge are encouraged to complete a series of tasks which get more and more sinister and at the end of the game the player is urged to take their own life in order to "win."
The Blue Whale suicide game goes by many names including 'A Silent House,' 'A Sea Of Whales' and 'Wake Me Up At 4:20am.' It takes 50 days to complete and is played primarily via the website VKontakte, which is a popular social network in Russia. It gets its name from a common belief that blue whales voluntarily beach themselves in order to end their own lives.
The game is attracting teens as young as 12-years-old in Russia and Central Asian countries and has been blamed by the Russian media as the reason why 80 to 130 children committed suicide between November 2015 and April 2016.
How To Play The Blue Whale Challenge
The game's administrators or curator find players through "death groups" or "suicide groups" set up on VK.com (VKontakte). Police in Russia have shut down several of these groups in recent years but say that as soon as one is shut down, another starts up and this has driven them underground.
Once you've been accepted by an administrator, you are given your first of 50 daily challenges, these can be anything from simple tasks like listening to a certain song, watching unsettling videos and waking up at odd times to much more extreme requests like cutting words or whale symbols into your skin. The first challenge usually comes at 4:20am. Every time you accomplish a task, you must provide photographic or video proof of completion to the admin.
A journalist working at Radio Free Europe created an account on VK, posing as a 15-year-girl they attempted to join the Blue Whale game. After making contact with a curator they were given their first task, which involved deliberate self-harm.
The transcript of their conversation with the administrator is below...
Are you sure? There's no way back.
Yes. What does that mean? There's no way back?
You can't leave the game once you begin.
Carry out each task diligently and no one must know about it. When you finish the task, you send me a photo. At the end of the game, you die. Are you ready?
I have all your information, they will come after you.
The first task the Radio Free Europe journalist was assigned was to scratch one of the games hashtags, "F58" into their arm. The journalist tried to fool the game's administrator with a Photoshopped image but the admin didn't fall for it and stopped replying.
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Has Blue Whale Resulted In The Death Of 130 Russian Teens?
At the end of 2015, a 17-year-old Russian girl named, Rina Palenkova posted this selfie online moments before jumping in front of an oncoming train. The train driver saw Rina and desperately tried to stop the train but he couldn't and Rina was killed by the impact.
As well as posting the haunting photos, the teen also left a message on her social media accounts, simply saying "goodbye."
Since her suicide several online communities and death groups, including 'Sea of Whales' have been sharing Rina's photos and claiming that she was part of their internet suicide groups, but her death has not been officially linked to any specific online group.
However, a more sinister double-suicide early in 2017 has been linked directly to Blue Whale. Yulia Konstantinova, 15 and Nika Volkova, 16 took their lives together by jumping from a 14-storey building. Shortly before her death Yulia posted a photo of a blue whale on Instagram and changed her VK status to "end." Nika also left a similar message on her VK profile, "sense is lost... End."
Blue Whale and similar games have been linked to at least 80 of 130 recent teen suicides by Russian media but no concrete links between any of these deaths have been confirmed by police.
"We counted 130 suicides in children that occurred in Russia from November 2015 to April 2016. Almost all of them were members of the same group on the Internet."
While 130 teens might have been members of the same group, this doesn't mean for certain that the group or its admins encouraged any of them to take their lives, especially when you take into consideration that Russia has a high baseline suicide rate among young people. 461 minors took their own lives in 2013, for example.
Although Blue Whale has not been found to have directly caused a rise in teens taking their own lives, so called "death groups," that promote suicide are real and are a big problem, especially in Russia.
These groups encourage children to commit suicide by convincing them that they are "fat" or "losers" in this world, however they tell them that there is is another world and there they will be among the chosen ones.
In November 2016, a 21-year-old administrator of a VK group was arrested and charged with persuading teens to commit suicide. Filipp Budeikin, who went by the name "Filipp the Fox" online, is believed to be at least partially responsible for the deaths of around 15 minors.
Around the world, police have started to warn parents about the dangers of these online "death groups" and suicide games. Police forces in Belgium and France have started spreading the word and in the UK the Devon and Cornwall Police recently tweeted, "who ever created this horrible game is sick! Parents: Please be aware of this 'game' talk to your children about it if concerned."
Complete List Of Blue Whale Challenges
A Reddit user posted a completed list of tasks which were supposedly posted in a comment on a story about the game on a Russian news website. The list of 50 challenges has been translated from Russian.
1. Carve with a razor "f57" on your hand, send a photo to the curator.
2. Wake up at 4.20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos that curator sends you.
3. Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator.
4. Draw a whale on a sheet of paper, send a photo to curator.
5. If you are ready to "become a whale", carve "YES" on your leg. If not, cut yourself many times (punish yourself).
6. Task with a cipher.
7. Carve "f40" on your hand, send a photo to curator.
8. Type "#i_am_whale" in your VKontakte status.
9. You have to overcome your fear.
10. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to a roof (the higher the better)
11. Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to curator.
12. Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day.
13. Listen to music that "they" (curators) send you.
14. Cut your lip.
15. Poke your hand with a needle many times
16. Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick.
17. Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time.
18. Go to a bridge, stand on the edge.
19. Climb up a crane or at least try to do it
20. The curator checks if you are trustworthy.
21. Have a talk "with a whale" (with another player like you or with a curator) in Skype.
22. Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling.
23. Another task with a cipher.
24. Secret task.
25. Have a meeting with a "whale."
26. The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it.
27. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to rails (visit any railroad that you can find).
28. Don't talk to anyone all day.
29. Make a vow that "you're a whale."
30-49. Everyday you wake up at 4:20am, watch horror videos, listen to music that "they" send you, make 1 cut on your body per day, talk "to a whale."
50. Jump off a high building. Take your life.
Want To Play?
Watch The RT News Report On The Game
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