A teenager from America has tragically passed away after participating in the sick online suicide game known as the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’.
15-year-old Isaiah Gonzales from Texas was discovered to have hung himself in a cupboard on Saturday. A mobile phone was set up close by with the apparent intention of recording and broadcasting the suicide.
After examining Isaiah’s internet history, his family are certain that their son, who had showed no signs of being suicidal, had fallen victim to The Blue Whale Challenge.
The teenager, who had recently become a military cadet, had sent pictures of completed tasks to friends who, according to Isaiah’s sister Scarlett Cantu-Gonzales, had ‘blew it off like it was a joke’.
Please share and spread the word of this sick game…talk to kids just please be aware.
Stop this Blue Whale Challenge..
Rip baby Issa ?❤️ pic.twitter.com/LOK4HB5h9C
— Eleni (@elenimarie_) July 10, 2017
Participants of The Blue Whale Challenge are guided through a series of chilling tasks over a 50 day period by an online anonymous ‘master’. Tasks include watching horror films all night long and bodily mutilation.
Participants are also asked to take pictures of themselves in dangerous situations, posing on the edges of roofs or on train tracks. The challenges ultimately culminate in the person being ‘required’ to committ suicide.
Often participants will fall prey to blackmail and threats. Isaiah’s sister Alexis has stated that a person behind the challenge had threatened to harm Isaiah’s family after gathering personal information.
Blue Whale Challenge… People please be aware of what goes on in your kids, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews life.. Rip Isaiah ?? pic.twitter.com/BHBq02PeyO
— Vangie Cantu (@eva_cantu12) July 10, 2017
Isaiah is not the first American teenager to become entrapped by the cruel game which is believed to have originated in Russia. Only last week, an unnamed 16-year-old girl from Georgia killed herself as part of the challenge.
There has also been a number of related deaths in Russia and Brazil, as well as incidents in half a dozen other countries. For many people, this devastating epidemic demonstrates the many vulnerabilities faced by teenagers living in the internet age.
Isaiah’s father Jorge Gonzales has urged parents to closely monitor their children’s internet history, making the following statement:
I want them to go through their phones, look at their social media
If they’re on that challenge already, they can catch that from happening.
We had no idea.
WARNING: Blue Whale Challenge app has kids carry out increasingly dangerous tasks and self-harm over 50 days including cutting, suicide! pic.twitter.com/8Rcx7tS83d
— C. Michael Gibson MD (@CMichaelGibson) July 7, 2017
The Blue Whale Challenge has not been officially cited by police as a factor in Isaiah’s death and the game’s existence has yet to be confirmed in America. Many people still view it as an elaborate social media hoax.
However, the fear that the game has instilled is undeniable, with schools throughout the USA, France and the UK now issueing warnings to parents.
Our thoughts are with the Gonzales family at this difficult time.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.