The Blue Whale Challenge is said to have originated in Russia which compels teenagers to commit suicide. It begins by asking the participants to draw a blue whale on a paper and carve it on their body. Once they complete this task, they are given other self-harming tasks such as involving watching horror movies alone in the middle of the night. The game demands the participants to complete 50 such tasks in 50 days, the last one being suicide. The game ‘blue whale’ got its name from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is linked to suicide.
The game has said to cause numerous suicides among teenagers all over the world. At the initial stage, feelings of self-loath and hatred are induced in them so that they feel low about themselves. Their meaning to life and existence is told them to be a waste. Participants are made to believe that the world would be a happier place if they died. If, however, they were unwilling to do so, they are constantly told how nobody cares about them and wouldn’t be bothered if they did not live.
It begins by attracting the target audience (young teens) through scary videos on a social networking site. One video leads you to another and finally to a page where the game ‘the blue whale challenge’, begins. People who are willing to take the challenge are said to have negative thoughts, feelings of low self-esteem and self-loathing attitude towards life. They are majorly depressed and wish to die. This game seems to them as a way to make their suicide a little more interesting, since everything else doesn’t interest them. This is where the game begins. Once they sign-up, they are made to do their tasks in the middle of the night, mostly at 4.20 AM. The kids, feeling that they have been assigned a responsibility, complete the tasks as per the instructions, so as to not disappoint those who have entrusted their faith in them.
The game has been created by Philipp Budeikin, 22 years old, a former student of psychology, who had been expelled from his university. A victim of bipolar disorder himself, he revealed that his mother and his brother hit him when he was a child. He believed those who are weak are a biological waste, and must not live in the society.
“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.”
He targets those who can be easily manipulated and further convinces them to die. He used sleep deprivation as a tool to influence the kids. It is strange how the study of human behavior can make someone play with the psyche of kids of a tender age.
Philipp, who has claimed that he is responsible for lives of seventeen teenagers, is actually accountable for over a hundred deaths. Yet, he has been receiving love letters from teenage women from across the country despite being under police arrest. One of the possibilities of this happening is because of the warmth and understanding that the creator provided the participants of the game which the victims lacked in their lives.
The number of deaths caused by this game is alarming, unfortunately, one such incident took place here in India. On 30 July, a 14-year-old ended his life by jumping off the building he used to reside in, in Mumbai. The boy had allegedly discussed the game with all his friends and even left a text saying “I am going to the building to jump.” This statement was unfortunately joked about and not taken seriously. It came as a shock to everyone that someone as young as a class 9 student would be vulnerable to such atrocities.
After the shocking incident, the school suspended classes for the students and counseled them as to how suicide is not something to be proud of and how it must not be glorified at any cost. In response to this incident, Fadnavis, the Cheif Minister of Maharashtra showed his concern. Since government keeps a check on what kind of visual content is available to us, a check on online games is as imperative to prevent any more cases like these.
Parents are hence requested to keep a tab on what sites their wards surf on the internet. Also, they must be a part of healthy communication on a daily basis. Parents must speak with their children to know if they are going through a bad phase, or having feelings of dejection inducing low self-esteem.
If they find their child going through any of the symptoms, like withdrawal from favorite activities, fear, anxiety, despair, irritability, lethargy, sleep disturbances, and erratic changes in behavior, they must speak with them or even provide them with counselors, if necessary. Remember, anything is better than ending a life. So, if any alternative is available, take it. Don’t hesitate in visiting doctors. They will only help you, and will probably, save a life as well!
Through this piece of writing, I would like the readers to know that this post, in no way, intends to promote the game. It is indeed a deadly game and people, especially teenagers, must not indulge in it just to know 'what the fuss is all about'. This game can ruin one's life as it clearly intends to do so. Students and children are, therefore, requested to stay away from this game.