Social media has a huge amount of power for good. Not too long ago, half the population of Ireland were pouring ice-cold water over themselves to raise money for charity. Unfortunately, social media also has a shocking amount of power for evil. A horrible trend known as the Blue Whale game.
If you’re involved in the Blue Whale game or are feeling suicidal, please contact Childline on 1800 66 66 66 or chat with them online
What is the Blue Whale game?
The Blue Whale game takes place on social media. It gained coverage on English speaking websites in February 2017 and the trend seems to have started out in Russia. New ‘players’ to the Blue Whale game request access to the game on social media by posting a request using the hashtags ‘#57’, ‘#58’ and ‘#curatorfindme’. One of these ‘curators’ then messages the ‘player’ with 50 days of challenges.
The Blue Whale challenges are far from harmless, spanning from self-harm with cutting and waking ‘players’ up in the middle of the night to watch disturbing and violent videos. This goes on for 50 days where the final days instructs participants to commit suicide.
Why is it called the Blue Whale game?
The trend gets its name from Blue Whales apparently deliberately beaching themselves to die. This is widely considered true but has never been proven.
Have people died playing the Blue Whale game?
According to fact-checking site Snopes, direct links between young deaths and the game are largely still unsubstantiated. There have been reports of 130 children committing suicide in Russia being linked to the game. In Ireland, a recent tragic death of a Clare schoolboy has prompted a Garda investigation of links between his death and the Blue Whale game. His father has since refuted claims his death is linked to the game.
Whether or not the trend was real at the start, the Blue Whale game has gained enough momentum to be a problem. Instagram has taken steps to encourage people to avoid the trend, but parents should remain extra vigilant about right now about what their kids are doing online.
This challenge is out of hand. It needs to stop. Whenever you lopk up tags with blue whale it gives a warning. If you receive the message on the second pic report the account. It says “Do you want to play a game” and no you dont. Idgaf if you are a pro hacker dont not even try. Leave it for the feds. Seriously. Be safe. ~ Lyssa #bluewhale #i_am_whale #i_am_a_whale #bluewhalechallenge #bluewhalechallenges
How to stop the Blue Whale game
Whether you’re a concerned parent or involved in playing the game, you can stop it. For parents, it’s essential that you have an open dialogue with your kids. Spying on them isn’t the answer and it will destroy the mutual trust you have built up. Speaking with your kids can offer you insights into why they might looking up something like this online and what they might find. It also gives you an opportunity to highlight the dangers of online trends like these.
If you’re involved in the game yourself, there are several people you can talk to. Of course, your parents is the first port of call, but if you don’t feel you can speak with them, pick up any phone and call 1800 66 66 66. That number is completely free to call and will get you chatting with Childline, who will help you. You can even chat with them online if you feel down or suicidal. Talking is the first step to making things better.
Article updated 16 May 2017 to reflect father refuting the connection to Blue Whale game in Clare schoolboy death.