By all accounts, the Blue Whale Challenge is a nasty and potentially deadly game, if you can call suicide a game.
“Anything that could be a potential harm or danger to students we want to put that out so parents can be aware of it as well,” says school system safety supervisor Anthony Sampson.
Two students from two different Baldwin County schools notified school staff about the app prompting a warning to parents and students. “We just pushed that out as a precautionary measure,” says Sampson, “but there is nothing that has been confirmed going on our campuses.”
The game asks players to complete tasks, as simple as listening to a song, as drastic as cutting themselves or other risky behavior. To win the game the player has to commit suicide. Download the app and it hacks into personal information that administrators use to threaten the player’s family or releases personal information until the player kills themselves.
“It’s very concerning and alarming to me.” Eddie Pratt is a youth therapist with Altapointe. “Kids are isolated and parents are using the phone and the computer as a babysitter it’s not appropriate.”
Pratt says an app like this targets the most vulnerable and parents have to stay involved. “Kids are very enticed into a lot of activities, a lot of social media and I think as much as they have access to it parents and guardians have to be equally as informed about where they are going.”
The Blue Whale Challenge first popped up last year in India and Russia. There have been no confirmed suicides attributed to the app.
School officials say they simply wanted to inform the public and students of the potential for danger.