Date
17 October 2017
Parents are advised to be extra vigilant with their children as a harmful online social media game appears to have made its way into the city. Photo: Reuters
Parents are advised to be extra vigilant with their children as a harmful online social media game appears to have made its way into the city. Photo: Reuters

Parents, schools urged to stay vigilant amid Blue Whale ‘game’

Experts are urging parents and schools to keep a strong vigil on children after a sick social media game that has been linked to multiple teen suicides in Russia seems to have made its way into Hong Kong.

The call for caution comes after a netizen who claimed to be a student of the University of Hong Kong said in a Facebook post that three of his friends were suspected to be participating in the Blue Whale Challenge, also known as the Blue Whale suicide game.

According to the post, the three friends not only wrote “I am a whale” on their Facebook pages, but were also seen with their left hands wrapped in bandages a few days later, suggesting injuries.

Expressing alarm, the netizen called on young people not to try the game, news website hk01.com reports.

Blue Whale Challenge, which originated in Russia, is an online game in which participants are purportedly assigned a curator who suggests they commit various acts of self-harm on a daily basis for 50 days.

It also goes by other names including “A Silent House”, “A Sea Of Whales” and “Wake Me Up At 4:20am”.

On the final day, participants are urged to commit suicide so as to win the game, a sick challenge that has reportedly led to a number of young people ending up injured or dead around the world.

The creator of the brain wash game, a 21-year-old Russian man named Philipp Budeikin, was arrested by police last year, but that has not put an end to the Blue Whale game in the cyber world.

Professor Yip Siu-fai, director of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Center for Suicide and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong, said he has been aware of the influences brought by the game.

Besides calling on the government to be vigilant, Yip urged parents and schools to put up their guard and watch if those under their care suffer from any strange injuries or show behavioral changes.

The game’s potential harmful consequences should not be underestimated, Yip said, warning youngsters not to even try the online game just out of curiosity.

A senior social worker told Headline Daily that Blue Whale Challenge is a suicide-promoting endeavor rather than a just game, as the online challenge systematically asks players to hurt themselves.

He asked all sections of society to stay on high alert to prevent the game from expanding online and prompting young people to form groups to commit suicide.

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TL/AC/RC

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