A 14-year-old boy, Manpreet Singh, from Mumbai, committed suicide by jumping off from the terrace of his Andheri building. He didn’t leave any suicide note and his parents claim that he never showed any signs of depression. The teenager had told his friends that he would not be attending the school from Monday. One of his friends revealed that Singh even told them he was going to commit suicide but they thought he was joking. What’s scariest is the alleged reason behind taking the extreme step is a game. It seems that the teenager was addicted to the deadly online game called ‘Blue Whale’, believed to be originated in Russia.
What is ‘Blue Whale’ all about?
Started in Russia on a social networking site called VKontakte, the game is also known as F57 or F-57, A Sea of Whales and A Silent House and is played on Snapchat or Instagram. After signing up, the participant is invited to complete 50 different tasks in 50 days and document each task in the form of pictures. Initially, the tasks are harmless like waking up at odd hours, watching a horror movie at 4 am and listening to a specific genre of music. The tasks keep getting tougher each passing day and takes a disturbing form by asking to indulge in self-harm like a drug overdose, standing on the edge of a high-rise apartment and more. With every task, the players are asked to make cuts on their forearms, at the end tracing out the shape of a blue whale. On the last i.e. on the 50th day, the participant is asked to commit suicide. The administrator encourages the player to take his/her life promising to make an exit from the world in a fun and thrilling way.
What if the player refuses to complete the task or leaves in between?
Initially, the administrator extracts every information about the player or participant and his family. If in-between the player refuses to follow the rules or complete the task, the administrator threatens to harm their family. Making it nearly impossible for the player to back out.
Origin of the game
The psychopathic game has spread across several countries and has till date claimed at least 150 teenagers. If the Mumbai Police success in establishing a connection between the Manpreet Singh’s death and the game then it would be the first case in India. The game took its first life in 2015 and now has spread to other parts of the world.
Philipp Budeikin, a psychology student claims to be the founder of the game and was thrown out of the university. He was arrested in Russia and was held guilty to incite at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide. In an interview, he claimed that he was ‘cleansing’ the society of the ‘biological waste’.
The game has lured many teenagers to their deaths. It is advisable to parents to remain alert about their children’s online activities and also create awareness in them about malicious content online. Here are few tips for parents:
- Talk to your kids, build a conversation. Make sure it doesn’t turn into an interrogation.
- Guide them to get rid of peer-pressure and build a confidence in them.
- Ask them about their fear, difficulty or anything that is bothering them.
- Listen to them even if it is about their day-to-day activities.
- Share your personal experiences.
Signs of suicidal tendencies in teenagers:
- Fear and anxiety
- Addiction to social media
- Withdrawal of interest from favourite hobby
- Aggressive and irritability
- Sleep disturbance
- Feeling low or tired