My Experience With The Blue Whale Game
May 24, 2017 8:49 AM
Early in March 2017 a friend posted a link on her Facebook, it was an alarmist post warning parents of the dangerous of Blue Whale, a deadly new teen suicide "game" that was sweeping across the world via social media and threatening to take the lives of teenagers here in the UK.
When I saw her post I was intrigued, the claim of this deadly game was right up my street. It seemed to be nothing more then an internet myth, there was no evidence that it existed, police officials said there were no reported cases, and not single death had been connected with the game. It was just the kind of myth I write about.
I put a fair bit of effort into my first post
about the game, I tried to dig out a few facts and details that the mainstream media weren't including in their stories and I tried to be a little more rational the fear-mongering reports the trashy red top newspapers were running.
Amazingly, the page really quickly became the most visited, more shared and most commented on page on my website, but I started to notice something a little worrying about the comments on the post. Almost every comment was posted by teens who were trying to find the game.
So, initially I did a little experiment. I placed a button to the page offering readers the chance to "start the game," when clicked this button lead the user to a secret page which asked them what they were doing on the page and why they wanted to play such a sick game.
9.6% of the people who read my Blue Whale article went on to click the button and many users commented explaining why they had clicked, 534 comments at the time of writing this. Some of the comments said that they just wanted to find out who was behind the game and troll them, others said that they wanted die and genuinely wanted to play.
The more I read in the press about this game, the more it seemed entirely fabricated. The papers were making claims that the game was spreading via Facebook and Twitter from Russia where it's claimed to have originate. The press said that teens had played it in European countries including Britain, France and Belgium, however official statements from the police forces in these countries say there have been no reports. What's more, the game has never been reported to exist on any social media other than VK.com (VKontakte), a social media site which is popular in Russia. It's no an XBox game, it's not a mobile app, it's just a chat with one sick Russian individual via VK's direct messaging tool.
There has been reports of a 14-year-old Argentinian boy who was admitted to intensive care, he claims he was playing the game but there seems to have been no arrests as a result of this claim. It should be fairly easy to establish who the teen had been talking to online, even if their conversation had been deleted.
In Bahia, Brazil a girl supposedly disappeared because of the game but this girl hasn't been named by the press and again, police haven't made any arrests as a result of her online conversation or published a transcript. As yet, no police authority anywhere in the world has managed to obtain a log of a conversation between a Blue Whale curator and their victim.
A 21-year-old man in Russia has been arrested in connection with the suicide game, he pleaded guilty to inciting teenagers to suicide and police think that he could be responsible for the deaths of 16 Russian teens in 2015/16.
So, I wrote a follow-up article
on the inaccuracies, false claims and exaggerations made by the press. This page also went on to become one of the most popular pages on my website ever. I became a source of information on the topic as the news spread. In Italy many mainstream news publications references me as a source of some of the facts in their reports on the game.
However, my attempts to debunk the story have fallen on death ears, those who are searching for information on the game seem to have already made their mind up that the game exists and are unfortunately trying to seek it out which puts them at risk. Only a handful of websites are reporting the more rational, skeptical angle on the game, including Snopes
- a website dedicated to dispelling internet myths, they currently list the game as "unproven."
I was a bit disturbed by the amount of teens visiting my pages and saying they wanted to play the game. The problem is, if teens are actively searching for this game sooner or later they're going to run into some sicko who will take advantage of that. All it takes is for one vulnerable teen to message from wrong twisted person about the game and suddenly it goes from being a myth to real suicide game, albeit in the form of a copy cat.
By this point I was get around 20-30k visits to the Blue Whale content on my page a day, so I decided to try and do something positive with all the traffic, I created the Pink Whale Challenge
. Basically my version of the game allows players to sign up with their email address, there's no contact with a curator or admin, the game is fully automated. I wanted to keep it that was as quite frankly, I don't want to be communicating with vulnerable teenagers online.
Once signed up, players are sent a challenge every day for one week, each task is designed to create positive emotions, unlike the actual game which over 50 days tries to convince kids they are worthless and ultimately take their life.
Below is an example of some of the tasks that my Pink Whale game sends to players.
- Write down five things you like about yourself.
- Buy yourself your favourite treat or snack.
- Write down three things you're really looking forward to.
- Draw a picture of the happiest moment of your life.
- Call a friend that you don't usually call for a chat.
- Make a friend laugh, don't give up until you succeed.
- Spend 20 minutes teaching yourself how to juggle, use the internet for help if needed.
I'm not expecting my game to save any lives or talk a teen out of taking their own life, but my hope is that it will stop them looking for the "real" game and hopefully stop them running into evil copy cats.
In Chile and Portugal there have been several reports of teenagers cutting whale-shaped marks into their arms, this is most likely the result of copy cats preying on those who are seeking out the game. This is now where the real risk lies, even if the game never existed, it's becoming real.
The more people talk about it, the greater the risk of it becoming real. It's similar to the myth of Slender Man, a fictional character that was created online but his evil has been brought to life by teens who want to believe.
In 2014 two 12-year-old girls allegedly lured another girl of the same age into the woods and stabbed her 19 times, purportedly in order to impress the fictional character, their case is still ongoing but thankfully their victim has since recovered and returned to school.
Demand for my "happier alternative" to the game, Pink Whale was overwhelming and I've had to limit the number of active players to 500 at any one time, this is basically due to the cost of sending daily emails to players, bulk email can be expensive.
1 Million Blue Whale Page Views
So far around 5k people have joined my Pink Whale game, although many more have been rejected due to the daily player limit I've had to impose, but the page has been visited over 100k times. All together my Blue Whale content has just broken the 1 million page views mark since the beginning of March.
There is a lot of interest in this topic, both from teens and parents trying to find out more about the game. All this buzz has made it my most successful strand of content I've ever written, it's received more traffic than anything else I've ever produced online, other than a handful of my YouTube videos.
It's interesting to see where this traffic is coming from, it originated in Easter Europe and Poland, then there was a sharp spike in visits in the UK as British papers tackled the story (I was ahead of them) and now there seems to be a wave of visitors coming from across Europe, especially Italy.
If you'd like to talk to someone about suicide, there is free help available and someone willing to listen to you:
In the UK, the Samaritans
can be contacted for free on 116 123, or visit Mind
In the US, call 1 (800) 273-TALK.
In Australia, Lifeline is on 13 11 14.
More On The Blue Whale Challenge
Early in March 2017 a friend posted a link on her Facebook, it was an alarmist post warning parents of the dangerous of Blue Whale, a deadly new teen suicide game that was sweeping across the world via social media and threatening to take the lives of teenagers here in the UK.
A 21-year-old man in Russia has been arrested in connection with the evil Blue Whale suicide game which is said to target vulnerable teens and encourage them to perform a series of 50 tasks which include self-harm and ultimately suicide.
It seems the twisted "game" designed to prey on vulnerable teenagers has been spreading across Europe and one headmaster in the UK has even claims to have discovered the game in her school.
Three weeks ago I posted an article about the sinister suicide game which is said to have claimed the lives of up to 130 Russian teens, it's become the most commented on page on my website with teens asking how they can play the game.
The Blue Whale Challenge is a sinister online game which, according to Russian media reports, have claimed the lives of up to 130 children who were urged to commit suicide as part of the game.
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