The 2016 movie “Nerve” has become real life in a dangerous social media game. Blue Whale Challenge is a game played over social media that incites its participants to take their lives at the end of it. While it has not been confirmed, it has been linked to multiple deaths.
In a nutshell, the movie featured two teenagers, Vee (Emma Roberts) and Ian (Dave Franco), taking on a virtual game that set up real life challenges for them around their city. The stakes started off low and swiftly escalated with dangerous tasks given. At one point, Vee is forced to walk on a ladder between two high windows of apartment buildings. In the final round of the game, the challenge requires one of the players to shoot another in an arena with hundreds watching and even more tuning in over the web.
Now, Blue Whale Challenge that has come to surface on the Internet today is a copycat version of the game played in “Nerve.” Over a period of about 50 days, players are given tasks to complete that build up to more after the previous, like the movie.
In order to show proof of having done the task, participants have to document it with pictures and videos, and even posting them to social media. However, the biggest difference between the movie and real-life game is that the final challenge for Blue Whale Challenge is to commit suicide.
There have been a few cases in the United States that are believed to be connected to the challenge, but authorities have not confirmed this. Yet, this game is one that has reached an international level, believed to have begun in Russia. Teenage suicides in various countries have been linked to the challenge, by means of influence. According to The Sun, regions that have broadcasted warnings about this game to parents include parts of Europe, South America and central Asia.
There have been two cases that caught the eyes of Russian police and launched an investigation into the Blue Whale relation. The first case was of two teenage girls, Veronika Volkova, 16, and Yulia Konstantinova, 15, who had jumped off of the roof of a 14-story building, committing suicide.
The link to Blue Whale was found shortly after on Konstantinova’s final social media post. Right before taking her life, she posted a picture of a Blue Whale with a note saying, “End.” Volkova, who Konstantinova jumped with, had also made a final post, saying, “Sense is lost… End.”
In another similar suicide case of a young girl named Chita, Russian police did confirm that Blue Whale was being looked at as a possible cause of death. Investigators also found that the game challenges participants to cut the shape of a blue whale on their arms with a knife.
The Russian investigation led to the unveiling of a social media group committed to this game. Russian police discovered this through a school administrator who identified a student with knowledge about it. While she did not directly name it as Blue Whale, she did admit that she was a part of such a game that delegated tasks, but that she did not abide by those that were harmful to her.
Furthermore, the Russian police have arrested Philip Budeikin, a possible ringleader who was charged with producing a chain of eight groups. Since that arrest, Russian police reported to see a decrease in the number of cases after seeing approximately 130 cases linked to the internet groups between 2015 and 2016.
Several suicide cases in the United States have been believed to be linked in the same manner, including the death of a 16-year-old in Georgia, whose name was withheld for privacy purposes. The girl left clues behind that were discovered by her brother, Marty after her death. She had paintings, pictures and a journal full of blue whale images with suicidal and goodbye entries alongside written in Russian. She even had a drawing of a girl labeled with a Russian name under it.
As a result, many warnings about the Blue Whale Challenge are coming to surface. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has enlisted it as a dangerous game that parents should look out for. They advise against speaking to children about it to prevent kids from seeking it out. If children already know about it, then parents should warn and keep them away from it. It can be a matter of life and death.