Amitabh and Aamir alarmed by the Blue Whale Challenge
A game called Blue Whale suicide challenge targets those who are depressed and turns suicide into a thrilling game. As a 14-year-old jumps off the terrace in Mumbai, police suspect that the psychopathic network has spread to India
Everything has its disadvantages. The Internet is a new medium, but if not used right, anything can cause problems AAMIR KHAN, ACTOR
Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have spoken out against the dangerous Blue Whale Challenge, an online game pushing a person towards suicide. The game, which encourages self-harm, allegedly took the life of a 14-year-old boy in Mumbai on July 29. Reacting to this, both the actors emphasised on giving importance to life over anything else.
Bachchan tweeted: “Reading alarming news on a dangerous internet game being played by the young! Life is given to live not give it up before time!”
The challenge, which is said to have originated in Russia, targets those who display suicidal tendencies, communicating with them through the Internet. The curator plays mind games with the victims, giving him or her 50 weird tasks. On the last task, the gamer is asked to end his/her life. Once in, a player is not allowed to quit.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Aamir, too, stated the importance of not letting the Internet influence minds in a negative way. He said, “I feel everything has its disadvantages. The Internet is a new medium, but if not used right, anything can cause problems. Even the best of things, when not put to right use, can cause harm. Obviously, we try to teach our kids to do the right thing. To an extent, it’s the parents’, teachers’ and family members’ responsibility to show our kids the right path.” >> HT CITY REPORTER GOES UNDERCOVER TO TAKE THE BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE,
Something macabre has been brewing on the Internet, and it sounds like the perfect plot for a third rate horror film. A depressed youngster comes across a social media group called Blue Whales. The group encourages him to take his life. It also promises to make his exit from this world fun by turning the suicide into a thrilling game. After signing up, the youngster is assigned daily tasks for the next 50 days. It includes inflicting selfinjury, watching horror movies, waking up at odd hours to wrap the task and even carving a whale shape on the arms. The task keeps getting tougher with each passing day. On the last (50th day), the game admin ask the youngster to commit suicide. Those who want to back out on the last day are threatened that their family members will be hurt if they don’t abide by the game rules. There is no exit.
It seems that the deadly game that originated in Russia has taken the life of a 14-year-old boy in Andheri East, Mumbai. Manpreet Singh, who jumped off the terrace of a seven-storey building on Saturday, could be the first victim of the network.
A NETWORK OF PSYCHOPATHS
This game started in Russia four years ago on a social networking site called VKontakte. It has already claimed over 130 lives in Russia. It allegedly led to its first suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a psychology student claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin, who was thrown out of his university, said he wanted to weed out the society by encouraging “those who have no value” to take their lives. Other reports claim that the mastermind behind the game, a postman called Ilya Sidorov, 26, was arrested in Moscow, Russia. He used to encourage teenagers to hurt themselves and eventually commit suicide.
What is worrying is that despite the common knowledge that the deadly game started and spread on VKontakte, which is a hugely popular site in Russia, no checks were brought in place to contain the network. One can easily create a VKontakte account. And once you log in, and search for #bluewhale, you come across psychotic, extremely depressing messages of young people desperately wanting to play the game and end their lives. Their profiles are as macabre as it can get. There are pictures of self-injury, ghosts and horrifying sketches of people bleeding and trying to kill themselves.
When this journalist created an account on VKontakte, and asked a few users about Blue Whale, she was sent a link to a profile that claimed to add people to the Blue Whale network. The person has posted eerie sketches, including one that showed a bloodied male figure hurting himself with a knife. The person called Aisha Andrew chatted with her, and told her that there can be no looking back once a person begins the game. The first task that she was assigned was to carve ‘F57’ on her arm with a blade at 4:20 am and send a picture.
Dr Pulkit Sharma, psychologist, says that we need to immediately ban access to such social networking sites. “It’s important to restrict such content. When a person is depressed, he or she is in a very fragile state of mind. Anyone who seems powerful to them and comes across as an anchor point, can have the potential to influence their mind. When you tell a depressed person that he can live, and there is hope, he doesn’t find such words to be realistic. But if someone tells him that he is fit to die, and there is nothing wrong is seeking liberation and suicide is an easier, logical way out, he immediately relates to it. Exposure to such content is extremely dangerous for depressed young people.”
Sharma says that the network seems to be a creation of a psychopath. “Such people believe that they are larger than life. They are on a special mission and they have a weird agenda that makes sense to them. They are fanatical. They see things in extreme, in black and white, the way the alleged creator of the Blue Whale network believes that if he eradicates depressed people, this world will be a happy place,” he says. Such a psychopathic mind could be an outcome of childhood abuse, neglect and trauma.
Screenshots of chat with a youngster claiming to be associated with the Blue Whale network