If you haven’t heard of this “craze” then read on, and take steps to keep you and yours safe from such madness…
First: What is the “Blue Whale Game?”
The “blue whale” name is said to come from the phenomenon of the animals intentionally stranding themselves on beaches.
Philipp Budeikin, a Russian national who as of May was 21, has taken credit for creating the “game.” Police arrested him last November, and he has pleaded guilty to inciting the suicides of at least 16 teenagers.
“There are people, and there are biodegradable waste,” Budeikin told Saint-Petersburg.ru, a Russian outlet in an article published around the time of his arrest. “I was cleaning our society from such people.”
He said he created the game in 2013 under the name F57, combining the sound of the start of his name and the last two digits of his phone number. “Sometimes I start to think that I am doing wrong,” he told the outlet, “but inside there is a feeling that I was doing the right thing.”
Blue Whale is widely reported to have started in Russia in 2013, though the first suicide apparently did not happen until two years later.
In social networks such as Russia’s VKontakte, participants receive 50 instructions from “administrators,” the last of which is to die by suicide, according to those reports.
Family members have linked at least two suicides in the United States to Blue Whale.
A 15-year-old boy in San Antonio named Isaiah Gonzalez took his life on July 8, and his parents have publicly blamed the phenomenon. His funeral took place last Thursday. “This is a warning to you and your loved ones,” one of his parents posted on Facebook. “If you have not heard of what the ‘Blue [Whale] Challenge’ is, please look it up and teach your kids about it.”
In Russia, lawmakers have discussed using legislation to try to stop the “game.” There have also been instances of suicides or attempted suicides related to the “game,” some of which are unconfirmed, in Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, Georgia, Italy, Kenya, Paraguay, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Next: What’s the danger?
A student slit his teacher’s throat, took a selfie with the body and then killed himself with a circular saw in Russia amid fears it was part of an online death game. Andrey Emelyannikov died in a bloodbath in Moscow after murdering his respected 44-year-old lecturer, a father-of-three.
Gruesome pictures showed rivers of blood on the floor beside the bodies of the computer game-obsessed 18-year-old and health and safety teacher Sergei Danilov, a former army officer.
Law enforcement officers linked the killing to a variant of a rash of ‘death group’ suicides that have stricken Russia recently, often involving vulnerable and depressed teenagers who are coached online.
‘The murder happened during a break in classes when the student came to his teacher from behind and stabbed him with a knife to his neck,’ reported NTV. ‘Then he posed for several selfies, smirking and looking relaxed with a toothpick nonchalantly in his mouth.
He then killed himself with an electric saw, NTV said.