All you wanted to know about the deadly Blue Whale Challenge
The deadly online game that is becoming a rage among teenagers across the globe, includes 50 steps leading to one ultimate challenge... to commit suicide
Welcome to the Blue Whale Challenge. I shall be your curator and take you on a journey like never before. I shall assign a task to you everyday – something fun and adventurous like slashing parts of your body, watching a horror movie, killing an animal or waking up at an unearthly hour. I will need picture proof of you completing a task that I’ve assigned to you. Don’t even think of photoshopping or faking it, I will know and I shall punish you for breaking the rules. Welcome to the ultimate game, a game so deadly that at the end, you actually die. Let us begin.
The real Blue Whale
You’ve heard a lot of news coupled with gross exaggerations about the Blue Whale Challenge. Let’s set the record straight as the fake news parts are doing extreme harm. First and foremost, the Blue Whale Challenge exists, has become a rage, is active all over the world, and has resulted in the death of several young people. It’s based on the notion that blue whales ‘beach’ themselves on land as a form of suicide. The origin of the game can be traced back to the 22-year-old Russian creator of the challenge, Philipp Budeiki, who has accepted that he was intentionally manipulating teenagers to commit suicide. He started off in 2013 by establishing contact with multiple teenagers online, studying their mental state, and then selecting those he found were weak or depressed enough to be pushed towards killing themselves. His explanation for all of this is chilling “There are people and there is biological waste. I was cleaning our society of such people”.
How is it played
Reports that dismiss the game as a typical media creation to spread panic don’t understand how the game is played. They report that they have never found the Blue Whale App on any of the victim’s phones. Well, that’s not the way the game is played. The game is mainly played on social media apps like Instagram, online gaming groups, message boards and online community messaging areas. Teenagers actively seek the game and are also targeted by administrators and curators. Once contact is made, the player and the curator switch to a private chat mode. Rules are laid down, secrecy and the fact that you can’t back out are drilled down emphatically. A daily task is given and absolute compliance is demanded.
There are many reasons why teenagers are taking to something as dark and deadly as this. Those that are depressed or have strong feelings for ending their life, this challenge glorifies that and gives it a purpose. The other is a sense of adventure, being part of something cool and doing something that makes you different.
It’s important to have a conversation with everyone around you, especially teenagers. The Blue Whale Challenge is the game of death and its obvious seduction must be stopped in its tracks. It’s time to kill it off.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, August 20, 2017
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