"Blue Whale Challenge" phenomenon

16/11/2016

The Blue Whale Game, or also called the Blue Whale Challenge, is an internet game that exists in several countries.

Administrators of the game sends a series of challenges by assigning certain tasks to players in a 50-days time. They include the following, and may vary:

  • Carve a specific phrase on the person’s own hand or arm.
  • Wake up at unusual hours, usually at 4:20AM. and watch a horror video sent by the administrators.
  • Make lengthwise cuts on the person's own body.
  • Draw a whale on a piece of paper.
  • Write yes on the person’s own leg if ready to be a whale. If not, they should cut themselves or self-mutilate themselves.
  • Doing secret task.
  • Scratch a message on the person’s own arm.
  • Write a status on social media about being a whale.
  • Overcome a specific fear.
  • Get up at 4:20 and go on top of the person house's roof.
  • Carve a whale on the person's own hand.
  • Watch horror movies for an entire day.
  • Listen to music the administrators send.
  • Cut the person's own lips.
  • Poke a needle to the person’s own arm.
  • Purposefully make the person hurt or sick on their own will.
  • Climb to a roof and stand on the edge.
  • Stand on a bridge.
  • Climb a crane.
  • If the administrators see the players as trustworthy, the administrators then talk to the player on Skype.
  • Climb to the roof and have the person's legs dangling over the edge.
  • Doing another secret task.
  • Meet the "whale" (administrator).
  • The administrator then assigns a date for the player to die.
  • Not speaking with anyone for a day.
  • A final oath and vow about being a whale.

After the days are over, the final challenge often requires the player to commit suicide. The name "Blue Whale" was made to represent the game because the animal frequently beached and dies, frequently linked to suicide.

In short, the Blue Whale is a twisted suicide challenge that targets vulnerable teens into killing themselves. As of 2016, there were about 130 deaths that linked to the game. The game can reach tens through social-media channels like Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube, as well as texting

The game began in Russian in 2013. From social media VKontakte (VK), a death group called "F57" alleged its first suicide in 2015. The game became more common in Russia and elsewhere starting 2016, where journalists' investigation among teen suicides were linked to the Blue Whale.

On November 16th, 2016, it reported that a VK group administrator had been detained by police for urging children to commit suicide.

The game was said to be invented by Philipp Budeikin, a former psychology student who was expelled from his university. He stated that the purpose of the game was to "cleanse society" of "biological waste."

Philipp Budeikin

Budeikin was arrested and pled guilty to "inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide", leading to Russian suicide prevention legislation and renewed world-wide concern over the phenomenon.

On June 8th, 2017, police arrested 26-year-old Moscow resident Ilya Sidorov under suspicion of being one of Blue Whale game administrators.

Reported cases include in Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, Georgia, Italy, Kenya, Pakistan, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela. The game also caused significant concerns in Western Europe, including France and the United Kingdom.