In extremely tragic news, a Georgia teen may have committed suicide because of an online game called “The Blue Whale Challenge.” The “game” entails a list of 50 challenges — some of which include acts of self-harm and tasks specifically designed to lower participants self-esteem. The challenge culminates in the “final task” of suicide.
Needless to say, this is incredibly scary, tragic, and 100% unacceptable.
The challenge originated in Russia and was designed by a psychology student (who has since been arrested). The Georgia teen’s family first began to suspect something was amiss when her brother discovered several personal items that linked her to the online game, including a piece of paper with the name “Rina Palenkova” — another victim — scrawled across it. The game has also been linked to the death of a teenage boy in San Antonio, Texas.
While this is all incredibly senseless, we are heartened to hear that a reddit user apparently has created a positive game in response to The Blue Whale Challenge, specifically designed to bolster self-esteem and self-love. It includes doing things like, “Write, ‘I’m strong, I can do everything I want!’ 50 times,” and “Take a whole day to do what you like. Life is beautiful.”
While our hearts are breaking for the people who took their lives because of this heinous online challenge (as well as for their family and loved ones), it gives us so much hope to know that the online community is taking steps to fight back and spread love and positivity.
If you are ever feeling depressed or are considering taking your own life, please know that you are absolutely not alone and THERE IS HELP. You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak to a trauma counselor, or even text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 if calling feels like too big a step. And if you’re looking for a therapist or counselor, you can enter your zip code here for specialists in your area.