Schools in Alabama warn parents about Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ app

It's not an urban legend, but a sick game spread over 50 days with the last task assigned by the 'master' to delete all proof and commit suicide. Vulnerable youths are the target of the Blue Whale Challenge.

A “suicide game” presented in an app sounds like an urban legend or something from a horror flick, but unfortunately the “Blue Whale Challenge” is real. In fact, police and school districts have issued warnings about the app and even Instagram serves up a warning after searching for the #bluewhalechallenge.

blue whale challenge instagram message IDG

Vulnerable young people are the targets for Blue Whale. Once the app is downloaded onto a phone, it reportedly hacks the phone and harvests the user’s information. In the Blue Whale Challenge, a group administrator – also referenced as a mentor or master – gives a young person a task to complete each day for 50 days. If a person balks at the daily task, then the personal information which was stolen is used as a form of blackmail as in do this or else your private information will be released or your family threatened. The task on the last day is to commit suicide. This is supposedly winning the game.

The 21-year-old Russian guy who created the app claimed to be “cleansing society” of “biological waste” – but we’ll get back to that.

Alabama, New Zealand, UK warn parents about the Blue Whale Challenge

Yesterday, Baldwin County Schools in Alabama issued a warning to alert parents to the dangers of the Blue Whale Challenge. It states that “teenagers supposedly ‘tag’ each other on social media (Snapchat primarily) and challenge them to play. The student then downloads the Blue Whale app, which hacks into their personal information and cannot be deleted. The app originators then threaten the teenagers with harm to their families or releasing of personal information until they kill themselves.”

WKRG claimed, “The game asks players to complete tasks, as simple as listening to a song, as drastic as cutting themselves or other risky behavior.” A task might be to watch a horror movie or to wake up in the middle of the night and harm themselves. Graphic videos on YouTube, which I won’t link to, suggest that, within a couple days, tasks jump immediately into youths cutting themselves such as on their arm or cutting a blue whale into their leg. The young person is to take an image or video as “proof” that the task was completed and send it to the admin of the game.

Yesterday, police in New Zealand also issued a warning about Blue Whale; although it’s no longer available in the Apple App Store in New Zealand, it “had been seen on Android.” Waikato Police Constable Tristan Gerritsen urged parents to delete it from the phones of young people. He said, “Without getting into the nitty gritty, the app is particularly nasty as it targets young people and encourages them to complete self-harm challenges and eventually suicide.”

In April, Essex Police in the UK warned a school about the app; in turn, Woodlands School in Basildon sent a letter to parents about Blue Whale. Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police have also reportedly urged parents to keep an eye on what their kids are doing on social media.

The Blue Whale Challenge is not always run from an app; sometimes it is run from websites or social media groups. Blue Whale first showed up in Russia and India last year.

This February, the Siberian Times reported on several teenage girls committing suicide after being prompted to do so via the app by their “master.” Police were looking into possible ties to Blue Whale and the investigation included the girls’ social media contacts as they appeared to be in the same internet group. The report claims there had been 130 suicides of kids between November 2015 and April 2016. “Almost all these children were members of the same internet groups and lived in good, happy families.”

Blue Whale creator claimed to be 'cleansing society' of 'biological waste'

Phillip Budeikin, 21, had admitted to being the creator of Blue Whale. He is being held on charges of inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide. From his sick point of view, he was ‘cleansing society;’ death group admins claim the victims were ‘biological waste’ who were ‘happy to die.’

Budeikin has been at since 2013, perfecting his tactics. Teenagers are told to delete all correspondence in social accounts with the admins before completing the last task to kill themselves.

How Blue Whale Challenge works

Anton Breido, a senior official from the FBI-esque Investigative Committee, told The Daily Mail that some kids refuse to be manipulated when given weird or boring tasks and left the group, but others “who stayed were given much stronger tasks like cutting their veins, to balance on a roof top, to kill an animal and post a video or pictures to prove it.”

There are horrible accountings from girls who participated in Blue Whale such as being up at 4:20 a.m. every night – which makes people so tired all the time that making clear decisions is difficult – and watching gory videos or videos of teens committing suicide accompanied by “haunting music” and screams of animals. The victim would watch until the admin “commanded” her to stop and delete everything. To “win” the game, the challenge, the young person must commit suicide. 

You may have heard about Blue Whale in the past and thought it sounded too much like an urban legend, but Blue Whale is real. It’s not a thing of the past just because Budeikin has been arrested; he dislikes imitators of the sick trend he set, but they exist. The Blue Whale Challenge is spreading to vulnerable young people in new areas which prompted warnings from police and school officials just yesterday.

As the New Zealand police chief said, “Hopefully this app disappears and blue whales can go back to being the majestic creature of the deep that they were intended to be.” But until then, please be aware of the danger and not let your child fall prey to the suicide game.

[Editor's note (5/11/2017): According to multiple sources, whether the Blue Whale Challenge is real or not is currently unproven. Nevertheless, social media outlets like Instagram and multiple school districts are taking it seriously.]

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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