Facebook Takes Safety Measures Against Online Suicide Challenges
The 30 August suicide of a teenager in Madurai has been linked to the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’. Some 3,000 km away, another teen in Assam was brought to the hospital with injuries that were, yet again, linked to the 'Blue Whale Challenge'. The past few weeks have seen a spate of similar incidents, all linked to the sinister online game.
But what is this game and why is it being tagged as dangerous? Read on.
What Is the ‘Blue Whale’ Challenge?
The Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ is an online social media group that encourages players to kill themselves, via a series of challenges and games. It is said that a group administrator assigns daily tasks that one must complete for 50 days. Some of the tasks involve self mutilation, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours. Thee tasks get more extreme as days pass. On the 50th and final day, the admins instruct the players to commit suicide.
Police in Russia are said to be probing at least 130 suicides which they fear are linked to the online game. Two schoolgirls, Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova, 16, recently fell to their deaths from the roof of an apartment block in industrial Ust-Ilimsk, Russia.
Most of the children who were reported dead were from well-to-do families.
One of the victims, Yulia, left a note saying “End” on her social media page after she posted a picture of a big blue whale.
Yulia Konstantinova (left) and Veronika Volkova (right) from Russia are believed to be victims of the ‘Blue Whale’ game. ( Photo: )
PLEASE READ! EVERYONE DEAR GOD PLEASE DONT DOWNLOAD "BLUE WHALE" pic.twitter.com/hV37MnFufl— ㅤ ||Princess (@fedoralester) April 28, 2017
Should You Be Worried?
No reports of the malicious game have been reported in India yet, although there have been widespread reports of the game in Russia, United Kingdom and some parts of Spain.
The biggest fear is that since it is an online entity and spread over the internet, it can be accessed from anywhere. Parents must remain vigilant about their children’s online activities. It would also help if they talk to their children to help create awareness about malicious content online.
(This story was first published on 29 April 2017. It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives in light of the series of deaths that are linked to the online game.)
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