If you have children, work or live with children and teenagers, you must have heard about the blue whale game. Social networks are multiplying hashtags such as #DesafioBaleiaAzul, #BlueWhale and #BaleiaAzul. It is a sinister viral game that has caused alarm worldwide. The game of the blue whale, played by social networks, poses macabre challenges to teenagers, such as taking selfies while watching horror movies, self-harm, getting sick and, in the final stage, committing suicide .
In Russia, in 2015, a 15-year-old girl threw herself off the top of a building. Days later, a 14-year-old teenager threw herself in front of a train. After investigating the cause of these and other suicides committed by young people, the police linked the facts to a group that participated in a challenge with 50 missions, the last of which was to end their own lives. The concern increased last year, when different sources even released, without confirmation, 130 suicides allegedly linked to online communities identified as “death groups”.
Everything on the internet spreads very fast, even the most unbelievable things. In this case it is no different. The phenomenon has gained visibility and has spread throughout the world – including in Brazil, as suggested by the case of the 16-year-old girl who died in Mato Grosso, an ongoing investigation in Paraíba and the alleged homicide, followed by the suicide of a couple of lovers, this weekend in São Paulo.
Blue Whale and other games
Games with lethal risk appeals have become fashionable among teenagers . An example is #JogoDaAsfixia , which generated victims in Brazil. Another is #DesafioDoSalEGelo in which, to be accepted into the group, teenagers must burn their skin and share the images on social networks. In some countries, such as England, France and Romania, schools have been alerting families after teenagers showed up with cuts on their arms, burns and other signs of mutilation . Meanwhile, a Netflix series that deals with the topic of suicide among young people and teenagers is highlighted in the press and in the Social Media Trend Topics.
The stage of late childhood and early adolescence tends to be somewhat vulnerable, due to the physical, hormonal and psychic changes, of an individual gaining more autonomy for their choices. We can see that in games, both video games and any other that suggests challenges, with each phase completed, these young people tend to feel more valued, with power. The same can happen in this deadly game #BaleiaAzul, in which the player receives some “missions”, daily, for 50 days, specifically every morning (4:20 am).
The sleep deprivation tends to leave the teenager in confusion phase, facilitating the loss of sense of reality. The tasks proposed in this game are masked forms of torture, helping to destroy the Ego , leading the individual to break with reality, suggesting a psychotic state and, thus, it becomes easier to induce the person to commit suicide .
At this point you may be asking yourself: How can I prevent my child from falling into this trap?
How to protect your children
The recommendation is: protect your child and, although it seems controversial and invasive, it is your role as protector and educator, to supervise the use of the internet : frequent social networks , monitor the content searched, films and interest groups. Act safely. Talk to your child and build agreements and rules with his participation: determine the time in front of the TV, on YouTube, prohibit certain behaviors , such as spending the night playing online. And once the agreements are closed, keep them, regardless of the “pinpricks” you will receive when you need to say “no”.
Be whole in the dialogue. Listen carefully, with respect and cordiality. Don’t judge, don’t offend, don’t belittle, don’t criticize. Present arguments that make your son teen think about the issues from another perspective. Open up, even when his point of view shocks you, sometimes it’s just to test you.
Any teenager can feel interested in knowing the game out of curiosity. However, those most likely to participate tend to be those who are experiencing situations of conflict or emotional difficulties. Redoubled attention to symptoms such as isolation , long-term sadness , frequent complaints of loneliness . Have an active voice in the children’s education process and if you notice that something has gone wrong, seek professional help.
Seek help from a psychologist
The repercussions caused by the 13 reasons why series and the news of the blue whale challenge call our attention. The question that remains is how should parents behave? Today’s teenagers are very autonomous. The young man is unable to make value judgments (right or wrong). Parents, teachers and the law are responsible for teaching this. We have a very free teen generation due to the dynamics of social networks. Who lives stuck at home because the street is not safe. Parents relax because their children are in the room and safe. But, the children are playing online with strangers and totally exposed.
This generation abuses alcohol and drugs , very common in high schools. They saw the night in the clear. Combination that facilitates what we call a psychotic state. Whoever cuts himself is in this state. Confuses game with reality. Every suicidal person is in a psychotic state.
How to perceive such a state? Only a specialized professional, psychologist or psychiatrist , can make this assessment. Those who live on a daily basis can observe a change, but it is subtle: insomnia or sleeping a lot (usually sleeps a lot), isolation, avoiding contacts with friends and changes in appetite. The problem is not in the game, which is a simulation, or in the series, a piece of fiction. The risk lies with the adolescent who appropriates this fantasy as part of his reality. And parents or caregivers don’t watch when that happens.
Parents, be aware of your children’s habits. In case of any suspicion, see a psychologist!