Parents are growing more alarmed about an online challenge that might be causing their teenagers to commit suicide, especially in light of a teen death this past weekend.
The game, “The Blue Whale Challenge,” reportedly can be found in the darker corners of the internet, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Willing teenagers post #bluewhalechallenge or #curatorfindme on Twitter or Instagram to signify that they are looking to join the game and are in need of a taskmaster or curator. People are still unclear if there is an actual game, or if it’s an urban legend designed to scare people.
The participant is then given 50 daily tasks by the curator to complete, which can range from self-mutilation, staying up all night or watching a horror movie at a certain time at night. Participants are told to kill themselves for the last day’s assignment.
“The Blue Whale Challenge” came to light over a year ago, when a Russian postman was arrested in connection to the deaths of about thirty-two teenagers.
A 15-year-old Texas student, Isaiah Gonzalez, killed himself Saturday. His father found his body hanging from the closet, with a cellphone filming his suicide. His parents believe Gonzalez participated in the “Blue Whale Challenge,” sending pictures of his activities to his friends and ultimately killing himself because of it.
“They blew it off like it was a joke and if one of them would have said something, one of them would have called us, he would have been alive,”his sister Scarlett Cantu-Gonzales told WOAI.
United States schools have taken to sending out warnings to parents to tell them to guard their children’s social media habits as they believe the game is growing in popularity amongst their students.
The Parkrose School District in Oregon sent out a detailed letter to parents in June, urging them to talk to the children about the dangers of social media.
“Pay attention to any changes in your child’s behavior, especially if they become reserved, withdrawn or fearful of social media,” the letter noted.
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