Teen’s Suicide Prompted By Blue Whale Online Challenge
One of the hardest things for anyone to go through is the loss of a child, but it’s even harder when that child took their own life. Parents are often left wondering what went wrong. Could they have done something different? Were there any clues indicating that this was going to take place? This is what the parents of a 16-year-old Georgia girl were recently going through after their own daughter killed herself. Now, they are discovering some horrifying evidence that their teen’s suicide could have been prompted by something called the Blue Whale online challenge. What follows is not easy to read.
Nadia (name changed for privacy reasons) seemed like your typical teenager girl. She was an artist, so talented that some of her work was hung up at her high school. When she resorted to suicide, it was a shock to her family. But the biggest shock of all was when, after looking through some of her belongings, found a connection to an online challenge that promotes suicide.
The first clue was when Nadia’s brother, Marty, found a drawing of Rina Palenkova, a Russian teenager whose pre-suicide selfie went viral back in 2015. Palenkova’s was the first death that was linked to the Blue Whale online challenge.
Nadia apparently had the drawing taped next to a mirror in her room, as well as journal entries featuring Palenkova’s name. From there, Marty also discovered a sketchbook filled with drawings and collages of blue whales and other disturbing content about suicide and self-harm. There were also some entries written in Russian, much to the surprise of her family who didn’t realize their daughter even understood or had an interest in the language. Marty was the one who discovered the online connection to the game.
So What Exactly Is the Blue Whale Online Challenge?
From what is known so far, the Blue Whale online challenge began about two years ago and has possibly caused anywhere from 80 to 130 teen suicides to date around the world, including in central Asia, South America, Europe, and now with Nadia (and possibly another teen in Texas), the United States. The challenge prompts “players” to complete daily tasks over 50 days, while taking photos as proof.
The tasks ranges from drawing blue whales, to “watching horror movies all night or secretly cutting oneself,” CNN reported. Each challenge gets progressively more intense until they are told to kill themselves at the end. Those who might start the challenge out of curiosity might sadly see it to completion due to the fact that the curator threatens to harm them or their family.
Currently, 21-year-old Philip Budeikin is being held in prison after confessing to inciting over a dozen teenage girls to commit suicide via the Blue Whale online challenge. It’s not known yet if he’s responsible for all the deaths connected to the “game.”
A Warning to Parents and All
While the challenge has yet to spread here in the States, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your kids about it. It’s also good to stay mindful of your children’s online activities, especially when they can lead to self-harm or worse.
(Image: Unsplash / Thomas Kelley)