What is this game that ultimately brainwashes players into killing themselves? And, is it even real?

Blue Whale. Image by OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay. CC0 Creative Commons

It’s an internet game that has travelled across countries to claim lives. There have been several reports over the past few months of teenagers killing themselves as part of the 50th and final challenge of the Blue Whale game.

According to some reports, this suicide game is believed to assign a controller who sends tasks to be completed over 50 days to each unsuspecting teenager who becomes a participant.

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It is also believed that participants share photographs of the challenges completed each day, as proof to the controller. Tasks range from watching horror movies all day long to standing on the edge of a high roof to doing something painful to oneself.

However, does this game really exist?

Recent deaths of teenagers have been reported to be caused as a result of participating in the Blue Whale Challenge. However, there isn’t any website of downloadable mobile app about it.

It is said to have originated on social media, and challenges were sent to unassuming teenagers via private messages.

It isn’t clear about where the game actually originated, but several deaths in Russia from 2015 to 2016 created speculations that the game originated there.

Some reports also state that youngsters rescued before committing suicide were probably participants of the game as well.

Earlier this year, the Irish Mirror reported that the game was a grave cause of fear and concern for parents across Ireland. 13-year-old Conor Wilmot is alleged to have died after being involved with something he discovered on the internet.

The Irish Times also reported that Conor was a victim of another unnamed ‘choking game’ that may not be the #BlueWhaleChallenge.

Since reports began doing the rounds about the game having originated on social media, Instagram now displays a warning to anyone who searches for #BlueWhaleChallenge or #BlueWhale or similar hashtags.

Courtesy: Instagram

Users are warned of the possible dangers associated with following this trend and have the option of seeking help if they are participants of this game.

An arrest in Russia

A recent development from Russia came in July 2017, when Philipp Budeikin – the apparent ringleader of the game – was arrested and jailed. However, this case referred to two ‘brainwashed’ youngsters who were saved. The trial did not include the provoking of 17 deaths that Philipp had ‘appeared’ to confess about.

It also cannot be confirmed if he is the one behind the Blue Whale game, because there is no concrete evidence of the existence of this game. It is a social media phenomenon that is being talked and reported about, but no one can say if it is real.

Whether such a game exists or not, it cannot be denied that teenagers will ultimately discover several things on the internet that can be harmful. Adolescence is an age when one may not not be able to distinguish between right and wrong and it could also bring with it, problems of self-control.

It thus, is left to parents and teachers to guide and counsel children and students into staying strong and unaffected by anything that goes viral on the internet, especially on social media websites and apps.

Taking one’s life is an extreme step that results as a result of having received no help for mental illnesses such as depression. It can affect people of all ages, but teenagers can be especially vulnerable.

Hence, talk. If someone seems unapproachable or withdrawn and has changed behaviour recently, try to talk to them. They may need help which they’re too shy or afraid to ask for.

Being depressed is not something to be ashamed of or a sign of weakness. It can happen to the best of us. So, reach out and let others know that they can seek your help whenever required.