We agree with you, it just seems so unbelievable. All this sudden uproar about the Blue Whale Challenge. You've heard about it, talked about it with your friends - and admit it - even googled it. Till now, it seemed like a sick joke. But now, there is mounting evidence that some people in India are actually playing the game - if not the Blue Whale, at least some form of it. It is probably created locally, probably started as a spin-off, probably an attention-seeking attempt one awry - but it is real - as real as a cold dead body splattered on the ground from a high rise. And there are too many of them for comfort.
So we wanted to have this chat with you.
1. First, the basics. What is this game? Is it even real?
You probably know more than we do, right? The mind-control game hooks players with activities ending in suicide or murder. It was first reported in Russia, as social media "death groups" that had macabre and depressing content. Curators or Masters
established contact with vulnerable teens and goaded them to commit suicide. Some admins have been arrested. It then spread to other countries and these past few weeks, many teen suicides in India are said to have been caused by the Blue Whale. At first, it just seemed like a random bubble but more and more, it seems people are playing some form of this game for real.
2. How can it reach you? What should you be wary of?
You know it isn't an app or a website. You don't actively need to subscribe to a death group today. Some victims saved at the last minute are claiming to have received a link via WhatsApp. It could come through any social media. So beware of any suspicious links. It doesn't have to be called "Blue Whale." Some of the other names "f57" or "Silent House" for example, but it could be called anything. Also, do not accept any strange friend requests.
3. What can hook you?
You love games. You love a dare. You think you are mentally strong. You think no one can mess with you. We are sure all of it is true. And we bet, each one who died probably thought so too. But in the end it isn't worth the risk. It isn't a joke. It isn't funny. And it is nothing to be curious about.
4. Everyone has a secret. You have some too.
This is the biggest weapon in an enemy's armory. We've all been through teen years and we all have done things we are not proud of. It isn't the end of the world. NOTHING you have done so far - except rape or murder - is bad enough for you to hide. Yes, it is embarrassing, and no, it doesn't last for a lifetime. NEVER allow anyone - either now or at anytime in life - to blackmail you with things you have done. Confide in your parents or teachers and contact the police immediately.
5. Are you playing already?
STOP. No matter what level you are at, please quit. Your parents won't be killed. Or anyone else for that matter.
These are emotional hooks to terrorize you and make you a willing puppet. The girl rescued in Jodhpur, attempted to kill herself again, because she was psyched that her mother will be killed instead. These are not fears to be laughed at.
6. Don't laugh this off.
We agree - this is prime meme material! There are many spoof versions of the game. But remember, not everyone is strong. And when you're young and confident, it sometimes becomes difficult to imagine other people's suffering. Be kind to your peers. Keep an eye out for your classmates. The quiet ones. The ones you laugh off as nerdy but could be feeling excruciating self-consciousness. Help each other. And stay safe!
[Bonus: Now that we have you listening, please spend more time IRL and less on social media. Yeah yeah, over and out :)]
Feel free to reach out to ChildSafeMedia at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries. Call ChildLine at 1098 for emergency.