Recently a Texas teen hanged himself because of his involvement in an online game that calls on players to complete a series of tasks before taking their own life. The game is the so-called Blue Whale Challenge.
Apparently, the Blue Whale Challenge exists in several countries, now reaching the U.S. The game allegedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide. The term “Blue Whale” comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is likened to suicide.
Participants are allegedly required to take photos of their challenges being completed and share them before they are directed to end their lives on the 50th day. If you search related hashtags on Instagram it shows users posting pictures of scars and cuts on their bodies as well as other ghoulish activities. Instagram warns viewer the photos could be harmful and directs users to mental health or suicide prevention resources.
Blue Whale began in Russia in 2013 with “F57”, one of the names of the so-called “death group” of the VKontakte social network, and caused its first believed case of suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a former psychology student who was expelled from his university, claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin stated that his purpose was to “clean” the society by pushing to suicide those he deemed as having no value.
So far two teens have died by suicide allegedly as a result of playing the game. One teen was from San Antonio, TX and the other from Georgia.
Sources: Wikipedia, Center for Missing and Exploited Children