How about a game where you get to do all these crazy challenges? Challenges you feel connected to? And there is no turning back? Sounds exciting? Want to know what will you win? Or will you win at all? What if there is no alternative end, either you die or you die. Scared already? Well, we all should because a game, The Blue Whale, is exactly this dangerous and has taken almost 200 lives globally.
After Russia, United Kingdom, United States and several parts of Europe, the disastrous game finally made its way to India when a 14-year-old boy jumped from his building’s terrace in Andheri (Mumbai) on July 29,2017. Although the police have not yet confirmed of the connection of his death with the Blue Whale Challenge, his neighbour saw him taking a selfie before jumping. He even expressed his desire to become a pilot and go to Russia a few days back.
Why is this important information you ask? According to a report in The Economic Times, a 22-year-old Russian, Philipp Budeikin, is believed to be behind these deadly challenges. A Siberian court has ordered three years of jail sentence to Philipp for encouraging young kids to take their own lives.
The game is administered through closed groups on social media and the challenges are given via personal messages. The master of the game or curator search for players through suicide groups on VKontakte or VK.com (a Russian social media website). They send around 50 tasks one after another and player is supposed to send a proof that the challenge is done to the curator. The initial tasks are as simple as listening to the music sent by the curator or going for a walk during odd hours. However, this is just the beginning. The social media is filled with pictures where the teens have made cut on their skin in the shape of a whale, etc. After they are done with 49 tasks, the last task is to take their life.
You might wonder why don’t they give up at the end. Sadly, the kids are threatened that if they back out then the curator will come behind them as all their information is with the master.
There is no trace of the game on Google as everything happens through closed groups and is underground. After the increasing number of such suicide cases, the Russian police have shut down many closed groups. But, the problem is that similar new groups start in no time which has made the process even more tedious.
A journalist from Europe created an account on VK.com and pretended to be a player. The curator gave the first task which involved deliberate self-harm. The journalist faked the picture by using photoshop and to which there was no reply from the curator.
The increasing number of such cases around the world has left everyone worried about the future of the internet. In many countries, the authorities have asked the parents to keep a check on their child’s web search and teach their children about cyber security.
According to a study done by Centres for Disease Control in the United States last year, published that suicide is contagious and the age group of 15 to 19 is most vulnerable towards it. Around the same time the children go through hormonal changes and therefore the effect is magnified. Bangalore based clinical psychologist, Dr Shubha Madhusudan, says, “Hormones take over their intelligence. Even if parents are loving and available for them, they will want to do something thrilling. Also, social media has gained so much popularity that children want to become famous through social popularity.”, reported the Mint.
News Source: Mint, Indian Express
Image Source: Twitter