WARNING: Contains content some may find distressing.
A sinister online game is being investigated for encouraging the suicides of over 130 vulnerable young people in the past six months.
The social media ‘suicide game’, Blue Whale, requires participants to follow a set of 50 instructions, and some are proving to be fatal.
Blue Whale is under investigation after two teenage schoolgirls from Russia fell to their deaths on Sunday, reports the Siberian Times.
Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova (pictured), 16, reportedly committed suicide in an apartment block in Ust-Ilimsk, Irkutsk region.
Yulia left a note saying ‘End’ on her social page after posting a picture of a blue whale. The animal’s image is seen as a symbol of a social media movement encouraging children to take their own lives.
Her friend Veronika wrote, ‘Sense is lost… End’. She regularly posted messages with heart-breaking sentiments, such as, ‘Do you feel that gradually you become useless?’ or ‘I’m just a ghost’.
The tragic deaths of Yulia and Veronika (pictured) are just two in a string of alleged suicides.
According to the Siberian Times, just two days earlier, an unidentified 14-year-old girl from Chita died when she threw herself under a commuter train.
Transport police have since confirmed that ‘Blue Whale’ is a possible ’cause of death’.
Last year, Novaya Gazeta reported:
We have counted 130 suicides of children that took place between November 2015 to April 2016. Almost all these children were members of the same internet groups and lived in good, happy families.
We know absolutely for sure is that adults are working with children, with the help of knowledge of their habits and passions, using their favourite language and culture.
They know psychology well, they convince girls that they are ‘fat’, tell boys that they are ‘losers’ in this world. And that there is another world and they will be among the chosen.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a probe on ‘incitement to suicide’ regarding Yulia and Veronika’s deaths, paying ‘particular attention’ to ‘their social contacts on the Internet’.
Two teenage boys were detained by police at the scene after allegedly filming the double suicide, reports the Siberian Times. A full investigation is under way.
The alleged ringleader of a social media ‘suicide game’, Phillip Budeikin, 21, was charged with organising a chain of eight ‘suicidal groups’ which promote suicides last year.
Yet, still, vulnerable young people are being given disturbing tasks while playing along with Blue Whale, including self-harm. Eventually the sick game encourages players to commit suicide.
It is claimed teenagers are urged to use a knife to make the shape of a whale on their wrist or leg, say Russian reports, and social media sites ask participants, ‘How many dull days like this are you going to drag yourself through?’.
Blue Whale plants the seed of suicidal thoughts into the minds of young people with pictures of an approaching train captioned, “This world is not for us’ and photographs of teens on a roof, claiming ‘We are children of the dead generation’.
They are also urged to watch horror movies all day, and to wake themselves at 4.20 am, all steps leading up to demands to take their own lives on the 50th day being in the game.
If any of the issues above have affected you, you can call Samaritans anytime, from any phone, free of charge on 116 123.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.