The Blue Whale Challenge appears to be making a comeback, with reports that the app which encourages kids to harm themselves — and eventually commit suicide — is making a resurgence in schools and online.
The viral app made headlines earlier this spring when it gained a foothold among American school-age youth. The game was first reported in European countries and seemed to be most prevalent in Russia before moving to the United States.
The Blue Whale Challenge reportedly requires participants to complete a series of tasks over the course of 50 days. While these challenges start out relatively innocently — with some including watching a horror movie — they progress into self-harm and eventually suicide on the final step. The game prompted several school districts to warn parents about the dangers of the game, with 10 News in Denver noting that many schools were taking an aggressive approach to keep students away from it.
The campaign seemed to have worked and chatter about the Blue Whale Challenge died down online, but has recently seen a flurry of interest and new warnings from schools. As CBS Boston reported, one local district issued a warning to parents in response to the game’s resurgence.
Peter Sanchioni, superintendent of the Natick School District, warned parents about the dangers of the game.
“The Blue Whale Challenge is an app that instructs its participants (many preteens) to carry out increasingly dangerous tasks and self-harm over 50 days,” Sanchioni wrote. “Users are encouraged to tag friends on social media and ‘challenge’ them to participate in the game.”
This story is very disturbing, parents be aware of the 'Blue Whale Challenge' a new trend w preteens & social media https://t.co/rnK6m2Nbn2
— Rachael Mead (@RachaelMead_SRO) July 8, 2017
The Blue Whale Challenge continues to spread across the world as well. Sky News reported that the game has claimed an estimated 130 lives worldwide, with fatalities reported in Ukraine, Estonia, Kenya, Brazil, and Argentina.
Russian authorities are also targeting those who made and promote the game, which is often pushed on impressionable or desperate teenagers. Russian authorities have made two arrests in connection to the Blue Whale Challenge, the report noted, including a 21-year-old who reportedly confessed to convincing 16 people to kill themselves through the game.
Blue Whale death 'game' leaves a trail of misery for Russian families https://t.co/BaCq2JyBYv
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 9, 2017
The efforts to educate the public about the dangers of the Blue Whale Challenge appear to be working, however. While the game’s name continued to trend across social media, many of the entries were warnings about the dangers of the game rather than promotions of the game itself.
[Featured Image by diego_cervo/iStock]