Remember this name: The Blue Whale Challenge. It is a new, very real threat to the safety of your family, teens and young adults.
Parents are being told to be on the lookout for specific warning signs. We've posted the list below.
So far, at least two teens have gone through the “challenge” and for them, it ended in suicide.
The challenge reaches vulnerable people through social media. It apparently started in Russia two years ago. The warning is out now in the United States.
Just a week and a half ago, Isaiah Gonzalez hanged himself in his bedroom in San Antonio, Texas.
He propped up his cell phone in a shoe and broadcast his death on Facebook Live. After his death, his family discovered telltale signs of the Blue Whale Challenge.
He had been listening to strange music and even drank some bleach. He also posted picture proof of those actions on social media.
His family says no one told them.
“They just laughed about it and blew it off as if it was a joke. If one of them would have called us, he would have been alive,” said Scarlett Cantu-Gonzelez, his sister.
“Unlike other challenges, this one is a sinister one,” says Miami Police in an informational video.
The name Blue Whale comes from whales who beach themselves and die.
Gigi Colombini is a psychotherapist who has been working for two decades to prevent teen suicide in Metro Detroit.
“Many times they are isolated and their social life is on social media. It is really easy," she said. "This is the way kids communicate everything now. What might seem like fun or a challenge or a dare, not thinking things through is classic teenage stuff.”
She and others urge parents to ask questions and even look into their teens’ cell phones and use of social media. The Oakland County Health Department and Youth Suicide Prevention have issued materials to help families.
Those two documents are attached below.
“Michelle” is 19 years old. She doesn’t want her face shown because she was close to suicide two years ago and continues in therapy.
She says Blue Whale could have easily connected with her.
“If I were at my low point feeling lonely and I had somebody reach out to me and make me feel part of something. I would probably buy into it thinking this is something I could trust,” she says.
Suicide prevention hotlines:
- 800.273.TALK (8255) - National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Here’s the list of 50 tasks a “curator” urges being done over 50 days during the Blue Whale Challenge:
- Carve with a razor “F 57” on your hand, send a photo to the curator.
- Wake up at 4.20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos that curator sends you.
- Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator.
- Draw a whale on a sheet of paper, send a photo to curator.
- If you are ready to “become a whale”, carve “YES” on your leg. If not– cut yourself many times (punish yourself)
- Task with a cipher.
- Carve “f40” on your hand, send a photo to curator.
- Type “#i_am_whale (rus. #?_???) in your VKontakte status.
- You have to overcome your fear.
- Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to a roof (the higher the better)
- Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to curator.
- Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day.
- Listen to music that “they” (curators) send you.
- Cut your lip
- Poke your hand with a needle many times
- Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick
- Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time.
- Go to a bridge, stand on the edge
- Climb up a crane or at least try to do it
- The curator checks if you are trustworthy
- Have a talk “with a whale” (with another player like you or with a curator) in Skype
- Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling
- Another task with a cipher.
- Secret task
- Have a meeting with a “whale”
- The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it
- Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to rails (visit any railroad that you can find)
- Don’t talk to anyone all day
- Make a vow that “you’re a whale”
Steps 30 to 49 are to repeat everyday you wake up at 4:20 a.m., watch horror videos, listen to music that “they” send you, make 1 cut on your body per day, talk “to a whale.”
The final steps is #50, Jump off a high building. Take your life.