An online game that promotes self-harm and eventually instructs children to commit suicide has spread from Russia to the U.S., school officials in Alabama and Connecticut are warning.
The “Blue Whale” game was created by Philipp Budeikin, who is in jail in Russia on charges of inciting at least 16 schoolgirls to kill themselves by taking part of his game. He said he thinks of his victims as “biological waste” and told police they were “happy to die” and that he was “cleansing society,” according to the Daily Mail.
Blue Whale gives self-harming tasks to youngsters, and then instructs them to commit suicide on the 50th day.
“The horrific tasks include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, but these gradually get more extreme. On the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game reportedly instruct the youngsters to commit suicide,” the UK Sun reported on Friday.
Baldwin County Public Schools in Alabama, on its Facebook page, alerted parents to the dangerous game that they believe has been introduced on two of its campuses.
“A very dangerous game called The Blue Whale Challenge (or the Blue Whale Game) has been brought to my attention by one of our social workers. It is my understanding that this very dangerous game may have possibly already been introduced on two of our high school campuses,” the BCPS stated.
“As shared with me by the social worker, this game or challenge began in Russia, and it is basically a challenge to harm yourself for fifty days, with the intention being to ultimately kill yourself on the fiftieth day. Teenagers supposedly ‘tag’ each other on social media (Snapchat primarily) and challenge them to play. The student then downloads the Blue Whale app, which hacks into their personal information and cannot be deleted. The app originators then threaten the teenagers with harm to their families or releasing of personal information until they kill themselves,” the school wrote to parents.
The Blue Whale game has reached two of its high schools, though Baldwin County officials wouldn’t indicate which ones, according to local ABC affiliate WATE.
“Some students have reportedly come forward regarding the game, though officials don’t believe any students have harmed themselves playing,” WATE reports.
The deadly game has also shown up on computers in Danbury, Conn.
A letter was sent to parents by Danbury Superintendent Sal Pascarella about the Blue Whale Challenge and indicated it has shown up on school computers in the region, Patch reports.
“While we do not know of any students who have done that, we need to make sure that parents are armed with the information necessary to protect their children,” Pascarella wrote. “We will do the same in our schools. We are checking computers and speaking with students to make sure that they are not involved or influenced.”