BLUE Whale is a twisted suicide challenge which appears to goad vulnerable teens into killing themselves.
The horrifyingly dangerous game has been linked to at least 130 teen deaths across Russia and police in the UK have now started warning parents about the challenge.
What is the Blue Whale online suicide game?
The Blue Whale suicide game is believed to be a social media group which is encouraging people to kill themselves.
There are hundreds of thousands of posts relating to the sick trend on Instagram.
It’s thought a group administrator assigns daily tasks to members, which they have to complete over 50 days.
The horrific tasks include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, but these gradually get more extreme.
On the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game reportedly instruct the youngsters to commit suicide.
The NSPCC say children should remember not to follow the crowd and not feel pressured into doing anything that makes them feel unsafe.
A spokesperson said: “Children can find it difficult to stand up to peer pressure but they must know it’s perfectly okay to refuse to take part in crazes that make them feel unsafe or scared.
“Parents should talk with their children and emphasise that they can make their own choices and discuss ways of how to say no.
“Reassuring a child that they can still be accepted even if they don’t go along with the crowd will help stop them doing something that could hurt them or make them uncomfortable.”
Is Blue Whale in the UK?
Essex Police informed a school in Basildon about the Blue Whale challenge and the headteacher wrote to parents about it.
The letter, sent by Woodlands School in Basildon, was seen by Essex Live and read: “We have discovered a game through the police that we feel you should be aware of.
“It is called The Blue Whale Game and is played via many social media platforms.”
No deaths in Britain have been linked to the game, but police officers have posted online warnings to parents.
Devon and Cornwall Police PCSO Kirsty Down tweeted: “Whoever created this horrible game is sick!
“Parents: Please be aware of this ‘game’ talk to your children about it if concerned.”
How many teenage deaths have been linked to Blue Whale in Russia?
Police are said to be probing a number of suicides across Russia which they fear are linked to the online craze.
But as of yet the Blue Whale game has not been proven to be directly responsible for any deaths.
Investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported: “We have counted 130 suicides of children that took place between November 2015 to April 2016.
“Almost all these children were members of the same internet groups and lived in good, happy families.”
Two schoolgirls Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova, 16, fell to their deaths from the roof of a 14-storey apartment block.
Yulia left a note saying “End” on her social media page after she posted a picture of a big blue whale.
A 17-year-old girl from India allegedly taking part in the suicide game was so desperate to die she tried to kill herself twice in just two days, according to reports.
She was recovering from injuries sustained while jumping into a lake when she took a near-fatal drug overdose at home.
Another unnamed 15-year-old girl was also critically injured after falling on to snowy ground from a fifth floor flat in the city of Krasnoyarsk, also Siberia. Two days earlier, a 14-year-old girl from Chita was reported to have thrown herself under a commuter train.
A 13-year-old boy was also saved from killing himself after he was spotted perching on the edge of a roof in Lviv, Ukraine.
A family raced to stop a 15-year-old girl from killing herself, with the young girl reportedly now recovering in a hospital in Barcelona.
The Russian parliament proposed a bill bringing about criminal responsibility for the creation of pro-suicide groups on social media. This will need to be signed by President Vladimir Putin and would see those who incited others to commit suicide jailed for up to four years.
What are police doing to investigate Blue Whale related deaths?
Cops are said to have launched a probe into the sick craze sweeping Russia – the suicide capital of the world.
It was reported that two teenage boys were detained by police at the scene after allegedly filming the tragic double suicide of Yulia and Veronika.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a probe on “incitement to suicide” regarding the pair’s death.
In Krasnoyarsk, law enforcement recently opened three criminal cases of incitement to suicide involving schoolgirls via the groups on social media. In all three cases, the teenagers were rescued.
One local school director told police he had received an anonymous call saying a student had joined a “group of death” and planned soon to kill herself.
What is Instagram doing to stop the game spreading?
Instagram has started showing users a warning when they search for pictures relating to Blue Whale.
When you search for the term on the network, a notification appears which reads: “Posts with words or tags you’re searching for often encourage behaviour that can cause harm and even lead to death.
“If you’re going through something difficult, we’d like to help.”
But directly underneath the post it gives the option to “see posts anyway”.
There are several shocking pictures of self-harm and even jokes about the sick game once you click through.
Some include pools of blood on the floor, while others appear to show a whale carved onto an arm.