Harvey warning parents of dangerous online social media game

Published 7:25 am Monday, May 29, 2017

A disturbing new trend has been making the rounds online.

The Blue Whale Challenge is allegedly a new social media “game” that has been driving some children to self-harm and even suicide. Participants are assigned a curator who provides challenges for them over the course of 50 days and with the last day, encouraging them to commit suicide to “win” the challenge.

Those who decide to take part download the “Blue Whale” app which tracks personal information and can’t be deleted. The creators of the app will then pressure participants with harm to their families or releasing of personal information until they kill themselves.

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While no deaths directly related to the game have been confirmed in the United States, victims have been reported internationally.

The name of the game derives from the concept that blue whales will beach themselves which has been likened to suicide.

Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey says the first thing for parents to do is “to be involved in your child’s life.”

“Make your children talk to you, even when they do not want to,” he said. “Know what is on your child’s phone and who they are communicating with. Tell your child that there is nothing that they can do that will change how much you love them. Lastly, if you see a change in behavior or suspect that something is not right with your child, do not be afraid to ask for help from a professional.”

In a letter to parents that he published online last week, Harvey wrote further: “Your child’s safety is always our number one priority: we will do our best to safeguard your child while at school. At home, we suggest you look for certain signs your child might exhibit such as isolation/loss of interest, giving their personal items away, or spending extra time online.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).