Images: Lionsgate & Vkontakte/East2West
A lot of social media trends or challenges have taken the world by storm these days, such as the infamous mannequin challenge, the ice bucket challenge, the running man challenge, the whisper challenge, and many more.
No matter how noble, funny, or absurd some of these challenges may be, no one could have anticipated the level of insanity the Blue Whale challenge offers.
If you’re familiar with the movie Nerve
, you’d know by now the premise of the story – players would need to carry out a set of tasks in order to win and if they decided to bail out at some point of the game, their lives would be compromised and all of their lifetime savings would mysteriously ‘disappear.’
Their tasks appear innocent at first, from kissing a stranger for five seconds to trying on a pricey designer dress, but it gets more sinister and extreme towards the end – players are required to kill off each other to win.
Sure, both Emma Roberts and Dave Franco survived the challenge and had a sort of ‘happy’ ending at the end, but this wasn’t the case with the Blue Whale Challenge.
What Is The Blue Whale Challenge?
It’s basically a game, but not in a form of an app or something you can buy off a store; it’s usually shared via a link.
It is said that once you’ve clicked on the link, you’ll be redirected to a page that’ll auto-downloads certain files to indicate the start of the game. A game ‘admin’ will then be assigned and will get in touch with you.
The creepy part about it is that the admin will mysteriously gain access to your personal details such as where you live, your contact details, your family members
The admin will continuously monitor you and give out your tasks. You will then have to carry out the tasks and take photographic evidence to be submitted to the admin.
The daily tasks will last for 50 days
, and among the things you will have to doi nclude carving numbers or images of whales on your body, watching highly disturbing videos, standing on top off a bridge or high rise buildings, and finally, commit suicide
Here's a list of the alleged challenges the player has to do:
It is unclear whether this is the exact mechanism of the game as there are no credible sources to verify it, but the game reportedly started after a stranger shared a link on popular Russian social media site Vkontakte, or also known as VK.
However, there are accounts of players who shared their experience on Reddit via the r/nosleep sub. We don’t really know how true their stories are but you can judge them for yourself.
Read their stories here
Who On Earth Is Responsible For This Sinister Game?
We know what everyone must be thinking, who would have such a wicked mind to create this sick game? Well, this fella has a name, and it’s Philipp Budeikin
He’s also known as Philipp Lis, aged 21, from Russia.
Some people may think that is a twisted joke, and the game is fake. But as much as we want to believe that this game is as real as the existence of unicorns, it’s unfortunately real and has even claimed lives.
According to a report in Daily Mail, Budeikin has already been caught and is currently in jail and is pending trial (thank God). He reportedly confessed to his crimes and thinks that he’s helping to ‘cleanse society’ and his victims were all ‘biological waste’ who were ‘happy to die’.
In a recent interview
, he said: “I was cleaning our society of such people. It started in 2013 when I created F57 [online] community. I'd been thinking through this idea for five years. It was necessary to distinguish normal [people] from biological rubbish.”
He started the game back in 2013, which predates the premiere of the movie Nerve
. So, to say that he got inspiration from the movie is highly unlikely but it is such an odd coincidence that the movie is similar to the Blue Whale challenge.
The Russian lad had a pretty clear and concise plan although there were initial hiccups.
He used scary videos on VK to lure vulnerable children and teenagers. The videos would lead to links to groups promoting suicide helmed by Budeikin. He would then reportedly filter them out and pick out those who were easily influenced and psychologically manipulated.
One of the groups were known as 'Wake Me Up at 4.20'
which had more than a quarter of a million subscribers before being blocked.
Budeikin would psychologically abuse his victims, asking them to stay awake at odd hours in the morning causing them to be restless and in the long run, they would lose their sense of judgement. This is where he’ll issue more extreme tasks and coax them to commit suicide in the end.
If the victims get cold feet at the very last minute, he’ll continue to offer more ‘painless’ solutions to kill themselves such as taking pills as opposed to jumping off a building or getting hit by a train. He would tell them to “do something beautiful in life at least once” and “it’s good to die young.”
How Many Have Fallen Prey To The Blue Whale Challenge?
There were reports that around 130 teenagers
have taken their lives because of this game. Budeikin denied this and said that there were only 17 of them and another 28 were “ready to take their lives.”
Among the victims were school girls Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova, 16, who reportedly jumped off a building in February after they were believed to be involved in the Blue Whale challenge.
Yulia reportedly posted an Instagram photo of a blue whale shortly before jumping to her death.
Another girl, Vilena Piven, aged 15, died in December after she reportedly jumped off the 13th floor of a building in Mariupol, Ukraine.
Prior to her death, Piven posted the view from the top floor of the building on her social network page and wrote “The quest is over. There's just one step to be made.”
She later added: “I did not think that it would be so scary to jump. Just one step forward and everything is done. But this very step is so difficult to make.”
Her final update, which would no doubt forever haunt her family members and friends, read: “I’m scared, I’m afraid.”
If you’re still skeptical about this game, try searching for the hashtag #bluewhalechallenge on Instagram.
A message from Instagram will pop up saying that the posts with the words you’re looking for “often encourage behaviour that can cause harm and even lead to death.”
So, if this wasn’t a serious matter, an influential social media site like Instagram wouldn't have taken such steps, right?
Suicide is one of the biggest social issues in Russia. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO)
reported that Russia has one of the highest suicide mortality rates in the world.
The organisation also notes that approximately one million people die from suicide globally each year. Here's the scary bit: the rate is predicted to increase in the future.
Is The Game In Malaysia Already?
So far, there are no reports of the game reaching Malaysia yet, but our government is reportedly keeping an eye on it.
According to a report by The Star
, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry are closely monitoring the online game.
Thankfully, Deputy Minister Datuk Jailani Johari confirmed that there are no reports of the game being active in Malaysia.
“We will be alert and conduct constant monitoring. Anyone with information on the matter should immediately contact the ministry,” he was quoted as saying.
As for you, the readers; always be cautious when you are online and who you talk to. Don’t simply click on links especially from dubious sources.
Contact the authorities immediately if you found a link to the game. You can also report it directly to the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia
at 03-8000 8000
To all parents, keep an eye on your kids’ online activity and take note of the type of games they are playing.
If you or someone you know is going through something difficult and is feeling suicidal, talk to someone you can trust or you can alternatively call Befrienders
at 03-79568144 or 03-79568145.