Thought to be inspired by Nerve, a movie in which teens use an app to dare each other to complete increasingly nerve wracking tasks, Blue Whale is an app that originated in Russia, and has already claimed the lives of over 130 Russian teens.
The app is simple. You sign up, connect your social media sites to the app, and are dared to do mostly mundane tasks. You are assigned an ‘administrator’ that will give you tasks such as ‘set an alarm and wake up at 3am’ or ‘watch a horror movie alone in the dark’. But as the ‘game’ progresses, so do the severity of the tasks.
The children that are most at risk are socially marginised, vulnerable teens.
Young teens are encouraged to cut themselves, take tablets, and eventually, for their 50th task, kill themselves. They are told that if they do not comply, their loved ones safety will be in jeopardy. They are told their administrator has all of their personal information, and their family and home will be targeted if they do not complete the task. They are encouraged to film their tasks as proof, with any task that is not on video being labelled as incomplete.
Parents are being warned to keep an eye on their children’s internet usage. Although trusted app stores run by companies like Apple, Google and Windows are generally safe, the dark web and un-moderated websites such as 4chan and reddit are a breeding ground for self-harm groups.
In situations like this, brutal honesty is the best policy. The children that are most at risk are socially marginised, vulnerable teens. Look out for any warning signs. Is your child insisting you buy them long sleeve clothing? They could be covering up evidence of self harm. Is your child spending hours on the internet? Do they minimise their internet browser when you enter the room?
Free software such as Qustodio, OpenDNS & Kidlogger can help you moderate your child’s internet usage without breaking the bank.
We as parents must keep our children safe from those that wish to harm them. Talk to your kids about the dangers of the internet, but don’t tell them too much. Ignorance is bliss, and the less a child knows about the existence of suicide apps, the better.
If you found this article helpful, why not take a look at our 5 Tips To Help Cure Your Social Anxiety.