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Blue Whale Challenge: Why a 'Ban' is Difficult; Early Warning Signs

The Blue Whale Challenge game starts with the “player” writing ‘YES’ on his/her hand with a razor.

The Blue Whale Challenge game starts with the “player” writing ‘YES’ on his/her hand with a razor.

It is not just Blue Whale there could be other ‘games’ as well.

Even basic understanding of Blue Whale challenge is enough to clarify that it is not something that can be banned. Contrary to what the government or media majorly believe, banning Blue Whale challenge is like banning depression or suicide! The government will have to do more than just order companies like Google India, Facebook, WhatsApp, Yahoo India, Instagram and Microsoft India to take down links Blue Whale Challenge. It is not another game like Angry Birds that you can search and download and start playing.

Blue Whale Challenge is played through “curators”, who are real people, inviting you to join the game and helping you take the plunge. In other words, the ‘game’ comes to you. For starters, just search ‘f58’ on Twitter to get some idea on what it is. Surprisingly, people are using the hashtag “#CuratorFindMe” to get an invitation to try the game. However, curators are mostly known to contact victims through networking sites like VKontakte (or ВКонтакте in Russian). There are other platforms as well. The little said, the better.

Here are some reasons as to why it is difficult to take on Blue Whale Challenge:

1) Blue Whale victims are mostly young kids suffering from rejection or are depressed. While the suicides are real, it is very difficult to pin-point Blue Whale Challenge as the only motivation to kill oneself. Also, cases of self-harm are quite prominent among Indian school going kids. It is just that there is not much hue and cry about it. So, blaming Blue Whale for everything will simply give it the undesirable attention.

2) Blue Whale is not a simple 50-step game which ends up in a suicide. People take that jump because the curator have some important comprising information about the victim, which should otherwise be confidential. Once, somebody starts playing the game, the curators tries their best to blackmail and force them to become victims.

3) Blue Whale curators are believed to have very limited footprint on Facebook, Twitter or other popular social media platforms. The curators reportedly connect through lesser known small platforms which the government have little control. It is highly unlikely that a Blue Whale curator will connect with someone over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

4) It is not just Blue Whale there could be other ‘games’ as well. Just because the term ‘Blue Whale’ has garnered so much media attention, the game could be running with a different name altogether in which the term “curator” has been replace by “coach” or anything else.

5) The internet is way beyond just Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others. While we don’t know how much a ban can actually help, the government needs to be more proactive to spread awareness on the concept of suicide games. We are dealing with children below 15 years of age. What might be a little issue for adults could be a huge mental block for the kids.

Here is what can you do to prevent suicides related to Blue Whale:

1) The Blue Whale challenge targets kids in difficult situations and are mostly lonely and depressed. Family and friends need to come together to help such kids. If you know or hear about some kids in difficult times, try not to ignore but talk instead. If your kids are in boarding schools, keep constant connect with them to know of their overall well-being.

2) The Blue Whale Challenge game starts with the “player” writing ‘YES’ on his/her hand with a razor. The player needs to send an image of this ‘YES’ to the curator. As this game mostly targets school going kids, guardians, friends or near ones should keep a close watch of early signs. Cut marks on lips, razor scratches on hands should be considered seriously. Just be observant. Note: We have come across several social media accounts showing signs of following the Blue Whale tasks with pictorial evidence. The images clearly showcase that the initial cut marks can be easily seen on the victims arms, legs and lips. So, be

3) Watch out for kids listening to weird psychedelic music or someone waking up at odd hours.

4) The signs are very similar to someone looking at suicide or self-harm. The concern over here is that the Blue Whale Challenge serves as a platform to connect people with suicidal tendencies and speeds up the end-result in a well-designed ‘50-steps to death’ game.

The deadly list of tasks: Take clue from this list to prevent someone from following it.

1. Carve with a razor “f57” on your hand, send a photo to the curator.
2. Wake up at 4.20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos that curator sends you.
3. Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator.
4. Draw a whale on a sheet of paper, send a photo to curator.
5. If you are ready to “become a whale”, carve “YES” on your leg. If not– cut yourself many times (punish yourself)
6. Task with a cipher.
7. Carve “f40” on your hand, send a photo to curator.
8. Type “#i_am_whale (rus. #я_кит) in your VKontakte status.
9. You have to overcome your fear.
10. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to a roof (the higher the better)
11. Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to curator.
12. Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day.
13. Listen to music that “they” (curators) send you.
14. Cut your lip
15. Poke your hand with a needle many times
16. Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick
17. Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time.
18. Go to a bridge, stand on the edge
19. Climb up a crane or at least try to do it
20. The curator checks if you are trustworthy
21. Have a talk “with a whale” (with another player like you or with a curator) in Skype
22. Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling
23. Another task with a cipher.
24. Secret task
25. Have a meeting with a “whale”
26. The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it
27. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to rails (visit any railroad that you can find)
28. Don’t talk to anyone all day
29. Make a vow that “you’re a whale”
30-49. Everyday you wake up at 4:20 a.m., watch horror videos, listen to music that “they” send you, make 1 cut on your body per day, talk “to a whale.”
50. Jump off a high building. Take your life.

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first published:August 16, 2017, 18:51 IST