The Blue Whale Game also “Blue Whale Challenge”, is an ‘Internet game’ that is claimed to exist in several countries. The game allegedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide.The term “Blue Whale” comes from the phenomenon of beached whales,which is linked to suicide.
Blue Whale began in Russia in 2013 with ‘F57’, one of the names of the so-called ‘death group’ of the VKontakte social network, and allegedly caused its first suicide in2015. Philipp Budeikin, a former psychology student who was expelled from his university, claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin stated that his purpose was to ‘clean’ the society by pushing to suicide those he deemed as having no value.
The game is based on the relationship between the challengers (also called players or participants) and the administrators. It involves a series of duties given by the administrators that players must complete, usually one per day, some of which involve self mutilation.Some tasks can be given in advance, while others can be passed on by the administrators on that day, the last task being suicide.
The challenge that originated in Russia is spread over 50 days and requires the participants to complete 50 tasks. Over one hundred deaths linked to it have been claimed in last two months.
The list of tasks, to be completed in 50 days, includes waking up at 4:20 A.M., climbing a crane, carving a specific phrase on the person’s own hand or arm, doing secret tasks, poking a needle to the arm or leg, standing on a bridge and roof, listening to music, and watching videos sent to the challengers by the administrator.
The game starts by asking participants via social media to draw a whale on a piece of paper, then carving the shape of a whale onto their body. It is followed by other tasks such as watching horror movies alone, waking up at unearthly hours or self-harm and ultimately the last challenge is to commit suicide.
Participants are instructed and required to send videos or photos to the administrator as a proof that they have completed the assigned task. This is done through Skype or other video calling apps. The game slowly and gradually becomes a death pit and in the final day, players are asked to commit suicide (for example, the most frequent one was that they were told to jump off a building).
A Google Trends report for the last 12 months showed that India had seen the highest number of searches related to the Blue Whale Challenge in the world! Even worse news is that it tops the rank. Within India, the state’s most vulnerable to the Blue Whale game are the North Eastern ones.
India being the highest one to face this calamity is under great threat and it is getting worse. The authorities are investigating and are concerned over spreading awareness for teenagers to not play the game.With dare-based games becoming a popular phenomenon, the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ is becoming a bigger cause of worry.
The main target of this deathly game till now have been teenagers who socialise on different social media sites and have interest in games. Those who refuse to do it are threatened that the administrator possesses all their information and would bring harm to them or their loved ones if they don’t do it.
Most teenagers and adults of sound mind with a supportive network at home and at school, are unlikely to stumble upon this “game” or be brainwashed by it.Children are often prone to such risks when there isn’t someone watching them.Lack of attention from parents can lead to children getting involved in such activities.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) ,Citizen Circle for Social Welfare and Education, has filed a petition in the Bombay high court seeking that it issue directions to state authorities to stop the controversial online ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ game, which has led to a few deaths including that of a teenager in Mumbai, and the setting up of a helpline. The petition stated several deaths have taken place due to the game.
The petition, which was filed by Shehzad Naqvi, the lawyer of the NGO, will be mentioned before the court on Thursday.
Petitioner stated that children in India are getting trapped in such a dangerous game on account of their innocence and due to the easy availability of the same, are losing their lives.
According to the Petitioner there is a great danger to the children of this era if government agencies like cyber crime do not commit themselves to protecting their ,players’, lives and limbs and thereby, protect their fundamental right as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.
Petitioner sought direction from the court to the concerned authorities that they should take necessary legal action against any person promoting or circulating the same. He said the court should frame guidelines and direction should be issued to scrutinise online games in India. He also prayed that the court should direct authorities to set up a 24-hour helpline to register complaints pertaining to the game.
Worried by the threat of ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ game among children and youth, the Director’s of School Education through out the country, have issued advisory for all Chief Education Officers (CEOs) asking them to launch a massive awareness campaign in schools.
As per advisory, Chief Education Officers have been directed to launch comprehensive awareness drive in educational institutions under their jurisdiction.
They have also been asked to constitute awareness committees comprising school principals, zonal education officers and other officials to educate students about the threat of ‘Blue Whale Challenges’ and other similar internet games. The CEOs were also directed to use social, print and electronic media for maximum awareness. They were asked to mobilize district counselling centers for counseling the students as and when required in their respective areas.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said his government is making efforts to ban the online game ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, which allegedly incites players to commit suicide.Efforts are being made to ban this game,” Chouhan said, referring to the incidents of alleged suicide by children while taking part in the Blue Whale Challenge.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said his government will ban the controversial online game known as the Blue Whale Challenge Game, which allegedly encourages its players to commit suicide. “The Blue Whale challenge is not a part of our tradition”,he said.
The maximum number of suicide cases have been reported from Russian Federation. On May 26 this year, the Russian parliament passed a bill introducing criminal responsibility for creating pro-suicide groups on social media, in the wake of 130 teen deaths linked to the Blue Whale suicide challenge.