Have you heard about the blue whale challenge? It is a game hidden in a world that cannot be found. It is only known to people who find it. It is a game where you get trapped with no escape for 50 days and the game ends with you taking your own life.
It is reported to be a suicide game that aims teenagers. It is linked to a lot of deaths around the world. Each day you get a challenge, which is a total of 50 challenges. The mystery behind this game is unknown. The ones who play this game do not know who is behind.
So what is the blue whale challenge? When did it start? Who is behind it? Continue reading to know more.
What is the blue whale challenge?
A few years ago, across Europe, headlines were made with police forces warning about the dangers of online games, especially parents who were made to be concerned about their children.
The largest population that uses the internet is adolescents and young adults. The Internet has become an important place for schoolwork, socializing, and collecting information. And web-based social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have become increasingly popular and common.
Although you gain many opportunities, there are also several problems. And one such problem is online games like the blue whale challenge.
The Blue Whale Challenge is an online game in which participants are given an administrator and agree to complete 50 challenges. The game consists of a series of dares and every time a player completes a challenge, a new one will be assigned.
The challenges would include watching a horror movie alone, listening to a particular song, and carving a blue whale in the hand. This game is played for 50 days and the last one is supposed to be the life-threatening challenge, where the participants have to kill themselves. Some reports claim that the participants have to live stream or share the suicide on Facebook.
How it all started?
This type of online game is not happening for the first time. The challenges that are done to trends spread quickly online. The Blue whale challenge came to light when it got linked to the deaths of 130 teens in Russia.
The Blue Whale challenge story began with the death of Rina Palenkova. She is a teenager who lived in south-eastern Russia. On 22 November 2015, she posted a selfie where in the selfie, Rina is standing outside wrapping a black scarf around her mouth and nose while sticking her middle finger up at the camera while it looks like it is covered in dried blood.
The post had a caption saying “Nya bye”. It was the next day, she took her own life.
The death of Rina Palenkova was discussed in a chat room type which was hosted by Russia’s largest social network VKontakte. It was in this group the users posted about Rina. In some instances, they lauded her for killing herself and her final moment’s videos were posted online.
But nobody knew the actual story behind her suicide. Shortly after her death, Rina’s story was connected with other stories of teenage suicides. On Christmas Day, 2015, 12-year-old Angelina Davydova killed herself in the Russian city of Ryazan. Later a teenager from the same city called Diana Kuznetsova committed suicide.
The parents of the daughters examined the online accounts that were left behind by their daughters and found that little girls were part of similar online groups. There were drawings of Rina Palenkova and posts about suicides and mentions of blue whales.
Background of the Blue Whale Challenge
The blue whale challenge was developed by a Russian who is currently behind the bars. On May 2016, speculation about blue whales and suicide became part of the national conversation in Russia
At first, the game had an app, but now it has been removed. But if someone has backup data and saved the app, it may still be there on the device, while being shared in unregulated groups.
Speculations were going around, finding how the blue whales became linked to suicide in these groups. Blue whales seem to be solitary and sad-looking animals. Some claim that the whales have been known to beach themselves.
The Blue whales do it on their record, for unknown reasons. It is one of the great mysteries of the ocean, why some blue whales beach themselves causing them to die. The same logic applies to this game, and so the name of the challenge is.
But on the other hand, some people say that it is a reference to lyrics from a Russian rock band named Lumen.
Deaths due to the Blue whale challenge
Death of half-sisters of Russia
12 year Maria Vinogradova and 15 year Anastasia Svetozarova are two Russian half-sisters, who have reportedly jumped to their deaths after playing the game.
On the ground below a 10-story apartment block, they were both found dead. Maria seemed to be upset and depressed when her mother took her to a gynecologist after starting a relationship with a boy. Before she died she posted a picture of the boy saying “Forgive me, please. I love you so much. I know you will find somebody better than me.”
Anastasia also sent a message saying “Goodbye to everyone! I love you all! This is true. Love you very, very much.”
Addiction in India
A nursing girl student in Jharsuguda, India tried to kill herself as she had been allegedly playing the Blue Whale game but was rescued. She had cut her wrists with a blade after consuming sedatives. This was the first suspected blue whale game-related incident in the Jharsuguda district.
15-year-old Yulia Konstantinova and 16-year-old Veronika Volkova reportedly fell to their deaths from the roof of a 14-story apartment. A note was left by Yulia saying ‘end’ with a picture of a blue whale on her social media account on ‘Instagram’. Two teenage boys were arrested after the event, having been found filming the double suicide.
Suicide by an Egyptian child
A 12-year-old Egyptian child committed suicide by taking poisonous pills and implemented the orders throughout the stages of the 50-task game. After initial investigations, the case was linked to the Blue Whale game showed that the Blue Whale-shaped sign was carved onto his arm.
The investigations behind the game
According to the reports of Novaya Gazeta, it was estimated that between November 2015 and April 2016, 130 children would have killed themselves due to their participation in these groups.
The game did not take long to cause considerable alarm and it came to be known worldwide as the Blue Whale challenge. The panic soon spread outside Russia.
A 16-year-old girl killed herself in Georgia, US. Later, her family learned about the Blue Whale challenge and realized the significance of the meter-high paintings she had finished at school shortly before she died.
In the United States, Hyderabad India, and two other Russian girls, were on the list for committing suicide.
Is blue whale fake or true?
Initially, Blue Whale may have been fake news, but it became problematic. Concerns were surrounding that some young people are making use of this fear and encourage others to self-harm and carry out various dares and post the results online stating that it was part of the Blue Whale challenge.
Criticisms arose among the media and warnings from the police claiming that they have helped to promote a fake news story. But in terms of media influence and the power of the internet, the Blue Whale Game seemed to be true.
There was a fake message that was going viral saying that the blue whale game will be downloaded to the user’s phone if a call from a certain number is answered. This fake news made its way to various apps that were available on the Google Play Store the name the blue whale.
Origin of the Blue whale challenge
It was created by a 22-year-old Russian, called Philipp Budeikin in the year 2013. In May 2017 he was sentenced to 3 years of prison.
Philipp Budeikin was a sound engineer who accepted that he led the teenagers into suicide claiming to have given them an understanding and warmth. He considered himself a vigilante, which means a member of self-appointed citizens who undertook law enforcement in the community without any legal Authority.
In an interview, he said that he was eliminating people who do not represent any value and the ones who would cause harm to themselves or will cause harm to others in society.
He said that he was cleansing the society of such people.
How does the blue whale challenge work?
The blue whale challenge is not an application that can be downloaded to your smartphone, but it would be purely based on the personal interaction between the curator and the victim.
In the blue whale challenge, there are two people. One is the victim, and the other is the curator. The social media profiles of many people, especially teenagers will be scanned by the curator and accordingly, will choose the people who have made their interest in the challenge clearly or the ones who seem to be curious about it.
The Curator will contact them via personal messages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Hashtags would be used by those who are interested in the challenge, so their curiosity would be highlighted.
The curator understands the victim through long conversations over time. Most of the victims would be impressionable teenagers who are stressed, ill-treated, and bullied in life, and the ones with low self-esteem.
How are the tasks designed?
Through the design of the game by the 22-year-old Budeikin, it can be understood that he understood the psychology of humans. He knew how to use disturbing visuals and kinds of music to disorient his victims.
The initial tasks given to the victims seemed to be harmless but they had long-lasting effects on the human mind and body. One of the initial tasks was to wake up at 4.20 AM and this use continued throughout the challenge. This is due to disrupt the normal sleep cycle of the victim.
The victims were made to wake up at odd hours and are asked to listen to ghostly music and violent videos. when the curator gives such tasks, he becomes someone the victim gets comfortable with and becomes a motivator to do things they did not do earlier. And so this comes in the form of dangerous tasks.
Victim takes up these challenges to prove to themselves and society that they are vulnerable enough to deserve living. The tasks get serious over time where they inflict wounds on the body. The victims would then end up enjoying harming themselves and that is what the curator wants.
By the 15th to 20th task, the victim would have become isolated, disoriented, and physically weak due to lack of sleep, negative towards life, attached to the curator, and comfortable with pain.
The curator would have gotten access to the life of victims and personal information like phone numbers, addresses, parents’ names, occupations, and about loved ones. These details along with personal chats and images would be used by the curator to blackmail the victims.
So if the victims try to withdraw from the challenge, the curator would use their blackmail. This is why teenagers accept the challenge and get in touch with the curator. They initially think that they would never commit suicide listening to a stranger, but in the end, they are forced to kill themselves.
The blue whale is not only an online game that motivates people to harm themselves. But many such games indirectly cause harm to people.
Parents should be alerted to monitor their children’s social media accounts and the social media users should be instructed to turn their profiles to private and not to download any strange links or apps from people they don’t know. The children’s behavior and routine should be checked and they should be aware of the dangers of online.
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