In 2017 news came out that shocked the whole of Russia. More than 130 teenagers had died in the last two years due to an Internet game circulating on the Russian social network VK (Vkontakte). It looks like news out of a horror movie, yet it is real. The game is known as “The Blue Whale Game” and it is so called because the whale is supposedly an animal that voluntarily retreats to the shore of the beach when it wants to die. If this explanation seems macabre, then wait until you read what it is about.
This game consisted of a series of macabre challenges, 50 in total, where the contestants had to overcome them one by one until reaching the last of all, suicide. The participants were mainly young people between 12-20 years old, although it is suspected that they were older and younger. The challenges they had to do were self-defeating, against integrity and with strong physical and psychological consequences.They were tests like not sleeping or eating for several days in a row while doing a horror movie marathon … Or cutting your arms and legs with messages that the administrators chose especially for each contestant, jumping from buildings, etc. To show that the adolescents really did the tests well, they customized them for each one. For example, they could ask a boy to draw a whale on his arm with cuts and another a completely different symbol, then ask him to justify it with his photo. This is how they confirmed that they had really done it. Each time they managed to pass a test they had access to other more complex (and dangerous), until the last one: suicide.
All this began to be uncovered when at the beginning of February of this year the two Russian teenagers Yulia Konstantinova and Veronika Volkova, aged 15 and 16 respectively , committed suicide upon reaching the last level , in different parts of the country. Both had left a last photo hanging on their profile with the photo of a blue whale and in which only “End” could be read. From there, the police began to link the teenage suicides that had gotten out of control in the last two years and managed to catch one of those responsible, 21-year-old Phillip Budeikin. However, at the trial he claimed to be only one of those responsible , with more above him.
THE SEARCH FOR IDENTITY CAN LEAD THEM TO GET INVOLVED IN DANGEROUS CHALLENGES
WHY DO TEENS GET INVOLVED IN THESE KINDS OF GAMES?
It is a crazy idea and it seems incredible that someone would want to participate in this type of game. Why then do some teenagers get involved and even continue to the end? For this we have to try to put ourselves in the place of the young man. The adolescence is a phase of life where kids create their identity and sense of belonging to a group. Feeling accepted and attached to others with whom you identify is one of your priorities. In addition, we must think that in this phase the emotions are on the surface. It is the phase of daring, of follies, of taking risks, of proving themselves, of seeing how far one is capable of going. Because,These games can be attractive in the sense of wanting to show your group something, that you are the bravest, the one who has the most endurance, the one who is not afraid of anything … Or simply to attract the attention of another person, either for better or worse.
It must also be taken into account that there are people who are born with a certain biological vulnerability that makes them prone to having certain types of depressive disorders and that if the right circumstances are given it can be triggered and developed. A situation of environmental stress or a lot of anxiety is the perfect breeding ground for this to happen. In fact, disorders such as schizophrenia usually have their age of onset in adolescence-youth. People with this type of vulnerability are more likely to start the game, if only out of “curiosity”, then the characteristics of the game itself make it difficult to quit.
That is to say, as if this were not enough, the game itself contributes to losing your mind as well, the tests go against the integrity of oneself and little by little it dehumanizes the person, desensitizing them to pain. Not sleeping, not eating, relentlessly exposing yourself to psychological terror and explicit violence, self-harm … all these actions progressively desensitize the person until a moment comes when suicide begins to be seen as an option …
CAN WE PARENTS DO SOMETHING?
In Spain at the moment there is no knowledge of something similar happening. However, we have to be vigilant because unfortunately it seems that we have a magnet to copy the bad, and when something becomes fashionable and goes viral it is difficult to stop. It is best to prevent this type of situation by speaking openly with the young people in the house and explaining to them how this type of game works on the Internet and everything that is behind it. The reasons why young people dare to play this type of game is very diverse but given the suspicions that they could be going through a bad emotional moment it is important that they see that we give them our support , they have to see the family accessible in all the time but without getting to the point of overwhelming.