An alert is being sent to parents regarding a dangerous social media challenge among teenagers.
The Massillon City School district recently announced the alert regarding a game called ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’ or ‘The Blue Whale Game.’
School officials explain the game was brought to their attention by several students and parents. “It is our understanding that this very dangerous game may have been introduced in our area,” explained a district representative via Facebook.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, it is an online suicide game.
‘The basis of the challenge is that an anonymous “group administrator,” otherwise known as “the curator,” hands out 50 tasks to selected players that must be completed, documented and posted during a 50-day period. The tasks start off small but become increasingly more harmful, with players being asked to wake up at unusual hours to watch disturbing videos, self-cut in the shape of a whale and take selfies while hanging off the highest rooftop they can find. In the end, the only way to “win” the Blue Whale Challenge is to die by suicide.’
Teenagers ‘tag’ each other on social media, primarily via Snap Chat, to challenge them to participate. The ‘game’ challenges participants to harm themselves for fifty days.
The challenge involves downloading a media app called ‘After School’ or ‘Blue Whale Challenge,’ which may also hack into their personal information and cannot be deleted.
The app administrators may then threaten teenagers with humiliation by releasing personal information.
The Ohio Department of Education offers the following advice to parents and guardians:
‘Initiate conversations on the topic: Share the dangers of online challenges such as this; encourage them not to follow the crowd and not to feel pressured into doing anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Create an open, trusting environment: Provide them with opportunities to talk to you, then listen without judgment. Make sure they know that no matter what situation they may find themselves in the virtual or “real” world, including something you may find inappropriate, you are there to help them through it.’
Michaela Madison Reporting