The Blue Whale Game, also known as Blue Whale Challenge, is a lethal internet ‘suicide game’ that exists in many countries. The players allegedly carry out a list of tasks that are handed to them by the administrators over a period of fifty days, with the final task asking them to commit suicide.
The term ‘Blue Whale’ originates from the phenomenon of ‘beaching’ in which cetaceans (aquatic mammals that consists of whales, dolphins, and porpoises) strand themselves on beach. Beached whales often die due to dehydration. In many cases, some healthy whales and dolphins have stranded themselves which raises the question of self-harm or suicide, though the exact cause is unknown.
The players are allegedly supposed to complete one task in a day. These tasks include self-mutilation and self-torture. For instance, the player is asked to wake up in the middle of the night and watch horror films or carve designs on the hand. The game originates from Russia, where it has resulted in 130 cases of suicide. Philip Budeikin, the inventor of the game, referred to the victims as “biological waste” who did not hold any value and would only cause harm to the society, and thus aimed at cleaning the society by pushing them to commit suicide. He was arrested and plead guilty to “inciting at least sixteen teenage girls to commit suicide”.
In India, a few cases have been reported that have been linked to this game. In July 2017, a boy from Kerala committed suicide after playing the game. Two other cases have been reported in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh resulting in action being taken by the authorities. The issue was raised in Rajya Sabha by BJP MP Amar Shankar Sable who asked for a provision to remove the game.
Aditi Pandey, a student of Lady Shri Ram College, says, “Such a detrimental phenomenon is much like getting into an offline bad company. It is essential to address the root causes of vulnerability of young adolescents and to fight against such harmful groups.” While Aishik Chakraborty from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, comments, “ It is like a cyber nightmare and the worst part is that it exists. A challenge like this can set disturbing images in the minds of the already vulnerable teenagers and the people around them too.”
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