Remember when Momo wreaked havoc on our lives and our children’s favourite YouTube videos? The challenge used a scary avatar to challenge our kids to do awful things, including committing suicide.
This is why we wanted to warn you about another very scary social media challenge encouraging suicide in a similar format as the Momo Challenge. Known as the Blue Whale Challenge, encouraging teens to complete 50 challenges in 50 days, the last being suicide.
What we know about it
The Blue Whale Challenge has been around since 2016. It allegedly started in Russia and has allegedly been linked to hundreds of deaths. The Blue Whale Challenge has since reappeared in the UK more recently.
Northamptonshire Police issued a warning to parents, explaining what this scary social media challenge is and what to be on the lookout for.
We are aware of a disturbing social media challenge circulating called the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ which encourages teenagers to take part in a series of 50 challenges that culminate in committing suicide.
Tasks are given online or through text messages, instant messages or posts on Instagram and Twitter.
Please talk to your children about the dangers and tell them not to open any messages or challenges of this kind.” – @NorthantsPolice/Twitter
What to watch for
- Any messages that relate to a person called Jonathan Galindo.
- Any messages from a person with his face painted as either Mickey Mouse or a dog.
- Messages that make reference to #f57, #f40 or #IMaWhale”.
- Any change in sleeping or eating habits.
- Wearing long-sleeved clothing to disguise self-harm.
- Taking and uploading photographs of activities and sending them to accounts that you don’t recognise.
How it works
According to Forbes, the “game starts out as between the administrator and the participant/victim.”
Each day, the administrator will set up a different task for the participant to do. The daily tasks start off fairly easy – listening to certain genres of music to watching horror-style movies.
As the days go on, the tasks grow increasingly difficult such as staying up until all hours of the night to mutilating the skin along with carving a “whale” symbol onto their arm. The final task and end of the game is the person committing suicide.
What should parents do?
There is no need for alarm or to cancel your kids’ social media accounts. Just be aware.
Although the details of the game are hazy, it is important to know the signs of the Blue Whale Challenge. You may want to monitor your kids’ screen time and talk to them about these types of challenges.
In the end, you know your kids best. We always think being on the front foot and knowing what to look for puts us in a much better parenting position than dismissing as ‘another hype trend’ and being ignorant about it.