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The dangerous new online ‘game’ EVERY parent needs to be aware of: The Blue Whale

Teenagers are committing suicide as a result of a social-media game called the Blue Whale, and it’s expected to hit South African shores soon
The Blue Whale

What is the Blue Whale game?

The Blue Whale game is an online suicide game that is being targeted at teens. It has made international headlines, following reports that more than 100 children could possibly have committed suicide playing it. Essentially it’s a 59-day challenge where each day the user will receive a challenge from the app that they must complete.

These challenges are meant to be physically and psychologically harming and each day they get more intense. The challenges involve urging the user to complete tasks from watching horror movies to waking at strange hours and self-harming. Eventually there is a call to end your life – and to date there have reportedly been about 130 suicides. 

It has taken over social media with the hashtags #BlueWhale and #bluewhalechallenge, and encourages teens to take part in the challenges. The game targets vulnerable teens through propaganda and psychological torment by making them complete the daily challenge at 4.20am.

Spiritually, 4am is considered the ‘devil’s hour’ and the game has been constructed to alienate the user through these self-harming challenges and to make sure that this is all they think about during the day. It’s apparently called Blue Whale because of blue whales’ habit of beaching themselves.  

Where did it start?

It has been mostly concentrated in Russia and Eastern Europe. At the moment the game is not accessible in South Africa but it is said to be coming. This is a new trend in South Africa that’s only just beginning to surface on social media.

Social-media analyst and the MD of Black Box Theory, Yavi Madurai, tells EWN in the video below that vulnerable teenagers are targeted. Madurai says while this game hasn’t hit South Africa yet, it will do so, and soon.

How does the app work?

The Blue Whale is a downloadable app targeted at vulnerable people, mostly teens. The dangerous thing, besides the harmful challenges, is that once the app is downloaded onto a mobile device it is virtually impossible to delete.

During the days after the download, the challenges continue while the app physically drains the data from the device and hacks all the information on it. In this way the app further enhances its harm to the users by harming their psychological and emotional state.

Once the users are hooked, the challenges get more intense. On the 50th day of the challenge there is a blatant call to end one’s life. If the user does not do this, the app uses the remaining nine days to convince them to do so.

Why Russia?

There have been questions as to why this Internet sensation has taken off in Russia and Eastern Europe. It is thought that the places this app is currently targeting have low security in terms of Internet and data.

At the moment South Africa is good in this regard, but the rest of Africa is not. And at a time when the continent is being dubbed the ‘next big thing’ with an emerging market, a downloadable game such as this suddenly becomes a lot more dangerous. 

For more information, please watch the video below and make sure your children are aware of it and stay away from it when it does become accessible in this country:

PHOTO: iStock/eco2drew


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