Have You Ever Heard of the Game Called “The Blue Whale”
If you Haven’t I suggest you pay close attention. Even if you have heard the media’s attempts to down play it and to pretend persons reports that it has contributed to numerous teen suicide across the world. Let me introduce you to it. Then Tell me what you think.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif — It’s a deadly social media game that children are truly dying to play. No one knows this better than a Bakersfield family. This family wants you to know about something called the ‘Blue Whale Game’. Fox 26 your hometown news connection uncovers how this game led a bright and talented teenager to commit suicide.
De Angelo Bristow’s parents are warning other parents about the dangers of what’s the ‘Blue Whale Challenge”. It started in Europe and it’s reported that many teens have killed themselves after playing it. It’s now reached the West coast of the U.S. and De Angelo’s parents are now breaking their silence.
14-year-old’s parents continue to grieving after his death in October. It’s pain that De Angelo’s parents Maria and Anthony Bristow don’t want other parents to feel they say that all the signs surrounding De Angelo’s death point to the Blue Whale Challenge.
“This is our future. Our life is not the same without our child it’s empty. I just have a hole in my heart,” said Maria Bristow.
It’s a social media game that pushes teens to act out certain harmful tasks. The last one is suicide.
“The way we found De Angelo, the table facing him. It just makes sense,” said Maria Bristow.
That’s no game at all. This is how it happens, teens search the Blue Whale Challenge online. They’re hooked up with a game administrator. That person contacts the game seeker by phone. They then get set up to do things, things designed to harm them over the span of 50 days. The game starts off easy and over time gets more dangerous. The rule is a gamer doesn’t get to the next level until the assigned task is complete.
“He texted my other niece and mentioned the Blue Whale Challenge. You need to look into that,” said Maria Bristow.
Now, De Angelo’s parents wants his death to be a wake-up call for parents to know about this dark game without a winning outcome.
“I want to let parents know to check kids and see if they change the codes in their tablets of their computers because his code was changed, “said Maria Bristow.
De Angelo was a freshman at Mission Early High School. He had interests in computer technology and karate. His parents say their love for De Angelo is the strength they’ve held on to. They say they want to warn other parents about the challenge so they don’t end up like them.
“Parents need to know what’s going on. I want parents to just speak about it and not be quiet about it. There are hundreds of parents, thousands of parents who don’t know anything about this challenge,” said Anthony Bristow.
Again, the Bristows are telling parents to get involved right now. They say check your teen’s social media accounts and demand their passwords. They say making your children a little angry might just save their lives.
So, what traits should parents look for in their kids? Things like losing interest in activities they used to enjoy or wanting to be by themselves. Also body injuries like bruises, marks, and cuts of hurting themselves. Plus eating poorly or not eating at all and changes in sleep.
This social media game that is being accessed through Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook began in Russia and has made its way into multiple other countries including the U.S. The basis of the challenge is that an anonymous “group administrator,” otherwise known as “the curator,” hands out 50 tasks to selected players that must be completed, documented and posted during a 50-day period. The tasks start off small but become increasingly more harmful, with players being asked to wake up at unusual hours to watch disturbing videos, self-cut in the shape of a whale and take selfies while hanging off the highest rooftop they can find. In the end, the only way to “win” the Blue Whale Challenge is to die by suicide.
It is being debated whether this challenge is real or just a viral hoax. However, police nationwide aren’t taking chances, and are sending warnings to parents and school administrators following the suicides of two U.S. teens whose deaths appear to be connected to the Blue Whale Challenge.
In July 2017, 15-year-old Isaiah Gonzales was found hanging in his closet with his cell phone propped up nearby where he had been livestreaming his suicide. According to his family, Isaiah was a happy kid who showed no signs of depression. He had recently joined the ROTC program at his Texas school and was gearing up to start his sophomore year in high school. The family had not heard of the Blue Whale Challenge until after their son’s death. In addition to the suicide video, they found other photos of the teen documenting acts of self-harm on his cell phone – connecting back to the challenge.
A second teenage death in the U.S. is also being linked to the Blue Whale Challenge. A 16-year-old Georgia girl, whose family is choosing to keep her name private, committed suicide in May 2017. Her death, like that of Isaiah’s, came as a shock to family and friends. Following her death, her older brother discovered the link to the Blue Whale Challenge. He found a sketch his sister had drawn of a girl with a name beneath it in Russian. It turned out to be the name of a 17-year-old girl who posted a “goodbye” selfie moments before committing suicide in Russia in November 2015 – that traced back to something called the Blue Whale Challenge. The brother then remembered the picture of the blue whale taped next to his sister’s mirror in her bedroom. As he continued to look through her sketches he found pages of whale drawings and magazine cutouts with the words “I Am a Blue Whale” pasted over them, accompanied by drawings indicating self-harm, suicidal statements and multiple entries written in Russian. The family said they had no idea their daughter knew Russian.
As an adult, we wonder why any youth would get involved in something like this in the first place, knowing the consequences. For one thing, we must consider the tween/teenage brain and where it is in development. Logic is not at the forefront. Curiosity is likely a large factor for seeking out this challenge, but depression and desire for acceptance may play a role as well.
As for what keeps a youth in the game, even after the stakes rise to dangerous levels? Psychological manipulation for one. Former players also say the “curator” threatens blackmail and harm to them and their families if they don’t complete the assigned tasks.
As parents, we’re shaking our heads in disbelief and wondering what we need to do to prevent our child from getting involved in something so awful. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to stay ahead of all social media trends that may impact our youth, so the most important thing we can do to protect our children is to talk them.
Initiate conversations on the topic: Share the dangers of online challenges such as this; encourage them not to follow the crowd and not to feel pressured into doing anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Create an open, trusting environment: Provide them with opportunities to talk to you, then listen without judgment. Make sure they know that no matter what situation they may find themselves in the virtual or “real” world, including something you may find inappropriate, you are there to help them through it.
Fifteen-year-old Isaiah Gonzalez was a soon-to-be sophomore who just joined the ROTC program at his high school. But on Saturday, Gonzalez’s father, Jorge, stepped into his son’s bedroom in their San Antonio home. Isaiah was dead, hanging from the closet, an apparent suicide. Next to his body was a cellphone propped up on a shoe, broadcasting the suicide, according to KSAT.
If the teenager’s sudden suicide wasn’t tragic enough, the Gonzalez family quickly learned Isaiah’s end was possibly tied to a macabre online spectacle known as the Blue Whale Challenge.
Essentially a dangerous personal obstacle course of 50 daily tasks that include everything from watching horror films to self-mutilation, the game is rumored to be behind unexpected deaths across the globe. But because the challenge plays out on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, the reality is hard to prove. In fact, due to the extreme premise alone, some says it’s just an Internet hoax invented to frighten parents and other adults.
Isaiah Gonzalez’s family says their son was definitely involved in Blue Whale and was sending friends pictures of the completed tasks. “It talks about satanic stuff and stuff like that and my son was never into that,” Jorge told WOAI. “They blew it off like it was a joke and if one of them would have said something, one of them would have called us, he would have been alive,” his sister Scarlett Cantu-Gonzales said.
Isaiah’s story is not unique. CNN reported on Monday that a 16-year-old unidentified girl in Atlanta is believed to have recently taken her life while participating in the challenge. If true, the two cases appear to be the first deaths in United States linked to the Internet fad.
If alarm is its goal, it’s succeeding. Whether urban legend or reality, there is no doubt that parents, law enforcement, and school authorities are concerned about what appears to be one of the Web’s darker phenomena. Over the past few weeks, several school districts across the country have issued warnings to parents about the potential risks of the Blue Whale Challenge.
The Baldwin County Public School System in Alabama told parents that those behind the game “threaten the teenagers with harm to their families or releasing of personal information until they kill themselves.”
The Miami Police Department released a video warning parents about the challenge and encouraging them to be vigilant about their child’s online activities. Participants are expected to post photos or videos of themselves performing the challenges.
But any warnings from authorities and law enforcement are handicapped by a lack of concrete information about the game.
Because the trend is coming out of the Internet’s far nether regions, even the challenge’s name itself is up for debate. Numerous reports tie the “blue whale” to the opening lines of Russian rock band Lumen’s song “Burn.” According to Bloomberg, the lyrics reference a “huge blue whale” struggling to “break through the net.” Another explanation is the apocryphal story of blue whales purposely beaching on land.
People who are interested throw out postings on social media — Twitter and Instagram, for example — asking for a “curator.” A number of different hashtags— #bluewhalechallenge, #curatorfindme, #i_am_whale — act like homing signals for the anonymous curators.
The curator then assigns the user 50 daily tasks — in a kind of gruesome sensei-student relationship. The specifics vary in different accounts, but the regimen is increasingly spooky and often involves self-mutilation. Some tasks reportedly include waking up at a certain hour to watch a scary movie or listen to music provided by the curator. Others include self-cutting. The final day’s task is suicide.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24, according to the American Psychological Association. While media portrayals of teen suicides often link them with some specific event or provocation, the APA notes that a combination of circumstances and risk factors are generally associated with suicides, among them mental disorders and substance abuse that make teens less able to cope with the stresses of adolescence.
That said, the game has reportedly popped up all around the globe, from Eastern Europe to Brazil, where it’s known as Baleia Azul. There, Bloomberg reported in April, the fad was strong enough that the mayor of Curitiba posted a widely shared video urging teenagers to stay away.
Most of the social media bread crumbs appear to track back to Russian social media. Earlier this month, SkyNews reported “groups in Russia believe that at least 130 young people have taken their lives while playing Blue Whale.” The network spoke to a college student who claimed he was “curious and bored.”
“I didn’t believe it, I guess,” he told the UK network. “I decided to look for it.” The student said his taskmaster ran him through a series of gruesome assignments, including self-mutilation, until the young man’s parents stopped him from completing the final task: throwing himself off a 20-story building in Moscow.
“They start psychologically manipulating you,” the student said. “It is very professionally done. You become a bit of a zombie.”
Other looks at the game have been less conclusive. A Radio Free Europe report from February acknowledged the game exists online, but no definite links to actual deaths could be determined. The report’s author “chatted online with more than a dozen Blue Whale participants, none of whom had advanced very far in the game.”
But there have been at least two arrests in Russia tied to Blue Whale. According to a BBC report in May authorities accused 21-year-old Philipp Budeikin of urging “at least 16 teenage girls to kill themselves” with the game. Last June, 26-year-old Ilya Sidorov was taken into custody after allegedly urging up to 30 girls to suicide, according to the Independent.
Hopefully everyone is still reading This first post about this may be a little over whelming and kind of all over the place im trying to remember and cover everything but as i go I see this is going to be a long task and will take many many different posts. With help of our 15 year old and hopefully the help of other teens who rise to the occasion of wanting to help others and not become a statistic this will end up being a very informative life saving attempt to warn and help parents and our youth of the dangers out their and how to go about living after them. We hope to cover child abuse at home the signs, Bullying in the school and on social media, depression, guilt, and suicide. As you all know im no professional writter so please bare with me and grab my reasons behind this. I am dumbfounded scared for our youth and angry so many are ignoring it.
After a few days of sitting down with our daughter who is 15 years old that has opened up to us about the things that really take place when we can not see. Shes told us about bullying, suicide, sexual and physical abuse, drug use and alcohol abuse. And several other alarming things that have absolutely floored me to be honest. I always thought that when i was a teen i had it bad. But our youth today are seeing and being apart of things I could have never imagined.
Some we can blame on the way others raise there children, some we can blame on the education systems lack of involvement when they are who is with our youth half the time as the grow up, then you can blame the media for their lack of informing the people of the things that are happening, and yes we can blame ourselves I’m sure at some point for simply being those parents who don’t want to admit that their child could feel or do those things or think because they provide financially in every way possible that their is no way my child could be unhappy. This by no means is a way of trying to blame any parent for not knowing . Their are parents who are forced to work so much they are not even sure what day of the week it is
Now comes the blame laid upon society as a whole for allowing so much to dictate how they raise children. It has left our children vulnerable, scared, alone, lost and much much more. I’m sure their will be many individuals who will attack this and i say go for it I promise I will back your efforts right into the corner.
For once lets think about the youth, not what you feel or want not what you believe or think you need but the youth. Yours, Mine and any other grown ups personal feelings do not matter here!
Lets go back now to when parents were parents when wives were wives and husbands were husbands. When marriage was a thing of love honor and lifetime when children witnessed devotion love and respect. You Know back before woman decided they wanted to be considered an equal to man. You know back in those days where children could come home and sit with mom and talk about there days because mom had the time to listen to then in turn share it with dad over a FAMILY DINNER. and yes I’m fully aware there are those situations that were exceptions. But lets pick it apart men go to work would come home to a loving wife and kids sit down spend time together and even in cases both parents would come home and do this after a day of work. Apart from your thinking well I’m a woman I should be able to do as I please. And to some degree you would be correct accept when it is hurting your children. If you choose to take on the responsibility of raising your child that should come first being their for them in times of need or questions. Being that strong loving example not someone who is absent so much that the child has no one but the internet television and radio to turn to because your to worried about your career.
Then lets go back to when kids were allowed to stand up for themselves with out threat of getting in trouble or someones feelings getting hurt. The truth is clear in history never has their been a history of victimization and bullying in schools. If I would have ever came home and told my mother that someone was picking on me and i was allowing it my mom who was a whole 4’2″ and maybe 120 pounds who because my dad was not a responsible father worked 3 jobs and still made it to every soft ball game every parent teacher conference and every graduation, would have told me to suck it up and stand up for myself to never allow anyone to make me the victim. She didn’t care if the school didn’t approve if the failed to look out for their students. She didn’t care if the school sent me home because at least she knew i was ok and could take care of myself. She taught me the meaning of standing up for me weather or not anyone liked it. Our youth need to learn to be tough again quit treating them like they are glass that toughness that so many are trying to remove is making our children weak and a target for those who prey upon the weak.
Im going to touch on a widely looked over issue and that is white youth and the out come that this society is having upon them because im going to provide you statistics and numbers that are going to alarm you. Im going to reveal that 77% of the teen suicides are white males and 22% white females. What is that showing Its showing there is a problem that is taking place in the white youth. Shame on anyone who has played a card in it. Our media and others refuse to link the relationship between bullies, suicide, and other horrific incidents like school shootings. But lets get something straight they all go hand in hand. Just like children see and hear the things parents say remember that next time you make so stupid ass statement.
Im not doing this based on some numbers i learned in school or some book I dont have some sort of certificate or diploma. What I have is a Beautiful 15 year old who should know she has the entire world and future ahead of her that has been strong enough to share her experiences feelings and things she has witnessed either her self or with one of her friends because she wants to help stop whats happening and maybe saves some lives and make a difference. No book or certificate or diploma or someone whos never been through any of it is ever going to make such an impact as the words thoughts tears smiles and honesty of a 15 year old.
10 CAUSES OF BULLYING:
- Feeling Powerless in Their Own Lives
- Someone Else is Bullying Them
- Bullies are often jealous of or frustrated with the person they are bullying
- Lack of Understanding or Empathy
- Looking for Attention
- Bullies come from dysfunctional families
- Bullies need to be in control
- Bullying behavior gets rewarded
- Bullies don’t care how others feel
- Bullies can’t regulate their emotions
- BEEN BULLIED
28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.9
20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.10
- BULLIED OTHERS
Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.11
- SEEN BULLYING
70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.12
70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.13
When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.14
- BEEN CYBERBULLIED
6% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.15
16% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.16
However, 55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.17
-A higher percentage of white students – 24 percent – said they were bullied than black, Hispanic or Asian students. Twenty percent of black students said they were bullied compared to 19 percent of Hispanic students and 9 percent of Asian students. Students bullied are more likely to struggle in school, skip class, face substance abuse and commit suicide, the department said research has found. Being made fun of, called names or being insulted was the most common way the surveyed students said were bullied. Being the subject of rumors or threatened with harm was also common.
63% of teenage suicides were white males
- 22% of teenage suicides were white females
- White females accounted for 371 teenage suicides
- White males accounted for 1047 teenage suicides
- 1999 – 1352 teen suicides
- 2002 – 1246 teen suicides
- 2006 – 1240 teen suicides
- 2010 – 1386 teen suicides
- 2014 – 1668 teen suicides
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death of young persons aged 15-24 (5)
- In 2014, 1,668 youth aged 13-18 committed suicide (5)
- Every day approximately 105 Americans die by suicide (5)
- Every 12.3 minutes there is a death by suicide in the United States (5)
- Every 40 seconds there is a death by suicide worldwide (4)
The viral video sensation showing a bullying incident at an Australian school has brought the issue of bullying back into the spotlight. Here in the United States, the Obama administration has made school bullying a federal issue. Last week, President Barack Obama addressed an anti-bullying conference with First Lady Michelle Obama at his side. The administration’s anti-bullying campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of Mr. Obama’s term. The Department of Justice announced in December 2010 its intention to hold liable school districts that fail to protect students that are bullied.
DOJ’s website states:
The Civil Rights Division and the entire Justice Department are committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools, and the video highlights the Department’s authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes.
The statement later says:
The enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in school districts is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information is available at the Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section website at http://www.justice.gov/crt/edo/.
Here is the catch. DOJ will only investigate bullying cases if the victim is considered protected under the 1964 Civil Rights legislation. In essence, only discrimination against a victim’s race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion will be considered by DOJ. The overweight straight white male who is verbally and/or physically harassed because of his size can consider himself invisible to the Justice Department.
Apparently, the Justice Department is going by George Orwell’s famous Animal Farm ending: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
“We can only take action where we have legal authority,” wrote DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa in a December 2010 e-mail to The Washington Times Water Cooler. She continues:
“As stated in the website below, we are statutorily authorized to initiate suits under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, and under Title III of the American with Disabilities Act. More information on the Civil Rights Act, Equal Educational Opportunities Act, and the ADA can be found here:
The Justice Department’s anti-bullying initiative is tantamount to bringing hate crime legislation to the public school system. Obviously, not only is the heterosexual white male student out of luck but inner city minority students lose out in this deal too.
If a schoolyard bully is a straight black male and his target is another straight black male where does that leave the victim in the eyes of Attorney General Eric Holder? What about two female students of the same sexual orientation and race? Is the victim in the latter situation considered to be less equal in the eyes of Obama’s Justice Department than a minority student who is picked on by a heterosexual white male student with no disabilities?
Unfortunately, the Justice Department is politicizing its priorities yet again. One must wonder why the administration believes it should be micro managing local school districts’ bullying problems. When the Justice Department is more interested in making ideological statements through seemingly sugar coated campaigns, no one should feel protected.
Stories Of Youth Killing Themselves!
A boy of nine who was found hanged is believed to have killed himself after he was ‘bullied for being white’ by an Asian gang at school.
Aaron Dugmore – thought to be one of the youngest children in the UK to commit suicide – was discovered in his bedroom after being tormented for months, his parents said.
They said Aaron was threatened with a plastic knife by one Asian pupil, who warned him: ‘Next time it will be a real one.’
He was also allegedly told by another pupil that ‘all the white people should be dead’ and he was forced to hide from the bullies in the playground at lunchtime.
Aaron’s mother, Kelly-Marie Dugmore, 30, and stepfather Paul Jones, 43, said that despite complaints to the school, nothing was done to stop the bullying.
Aaron had recently started in Year Five at Erdington Hall Primary School in Birmingham, a school where 75 per cent of pupils come from ethnic minority backgrounds.
According to staff at the school he had already ‘settled in quickly’ with his classmates after he joined the school last September when his family moved nearby.
The school, which caters for 450 pupils aged three to 11, received an ‘inadequate’ rating by Ofsted inspectors last year.
‘It’s better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all’: The message written by Aaron Dugmore’s mother Kelly on her Facebook page
Aaron was discovered by Miss Dugmore hanged in his bedroom at the family home in the Erdington district of Birmingham at about 6pm on February 11.
He was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where doctors desperately attempted to revive him but he died the following day from a suspected cardiac arrest.
‘Gone but not forgotten’: Friends and family paid tribute to the young schoolboy
His mother said she was convinced the taunts led to her son killing himself.
‘Aaron got on with all the children at his last school, and for him to have been bullied because of the colour of his skin makes me feel sick to my stomach,’ she said.
Mr Jones said that from Aaron’s first day of joining the school he had noticed a change in him.
‘He became argumentative with his brothers and sisters, which wasn’t like him at all,’ he added.
‘Eventually he told us that he was being bullied by a group of Asian children at school and had to hide from them in the playground at lunchtime.’
His mother claimed she went to see the head teacher of the school several times only to be told: ‘You didn’t have to come to this school, you chose to come here.’
A neighbour of the boy’s grandmother earlier told how ‘he had been targeted by a gang of older bullies at the school’.
She said: ‘They made fun of him because he was the new kid but no one really thought it was any more than playground stuff.’
An inquest was opened at Birmingham Coroner’s Court last week but was adjourned to a date to be fixed.
Detective Inspector David Wallbank, of West Midlands Police, confirmed that the force was investigating allegations that Aaron was being bullied in the run-up to his death.