Blue Whale, fast spreading 'suicide game' under tight surveillance in China
With games such as Pokémon Go, an online location-based game, which caused huge controversy as the movements it asked players to make in the real world in order to catch virtual characters were causing accidents which led to many tragedies, still fresh in memory. had
A new game's existence has come to light which seems to put the risks associated with Pokémon Go look like child's play. As this game, instead of placing players in danger as a result of steps during the game, asks players to harm themselves on purpose in order to advance in the game and finally kill themselves in order to win it.
Yes, the players win the game at the final stage after they commit suicide. But that is not all, at every stage, gamers are asked to bring physical harm to themselves in order to progress.
This new game is called "Blue Whale" and though the name might suggest a benign game, it cannot be described as anything but a "suicide game" as it targets teenagers and young children. It has triggered a panic among parents in China after it was discovered that it had led to several suicides in Russia.
The authorities in China have detained at least one youth, and the online surveillance over the social media has also been widened, with parents being urged to stay alert of their children's online surfing habits.
As per reports quoting a police officer from Zhejiang police cyber security, the scale of the spread of the game has been unprecedented and in some ways is similar to that of a cult.
According to the Chinese media, the online challenge game is believed to have originated in Russia, and begins with asking the players to draw a blue whale on paper, then moving on to other more dangerous challenges such as telling them to crave a whale, "onto your body, and watching horror movies." It asks players to complete fifty tasks in fifty days, ending with the "last task to commit suicide."
The issue came to light as a mother in the Zhejiang province of eastern China, found out about her teenage son playing and obsessing over the game, which led to her calling the police.
According to state media reports, in a city in the same province, a 12-year-old girl founded similar groups and uploaded three photos of her self-harming. And when she was asked why she did it, she is quoted as having said, "I am not good at school, and don't have friends. I feel frustrated."
As per reports, police have also found a group on the instant messaging service Tencent QQ which was found inviting teenagers and youngsters to take part in the game.
"Those who would like to join in the game must get up 4.20 am tomorrow. I will send you a horror movie and you must watch it alone, or face the consequences," is one particular instruction given by the group's founder, operating under the pseudonym Xiao Yang, official Xinhua news agency reported.
"Xiao, who called himself vice president of Blue Whale's China Bureau, listed 50 tasks, including cutting your arm along the vein with a razor; stabbing your hand with a needle repeatedly; don't talk to anyone all day and accept the date of your death," the reports have said.
While in another case a 17-year-old was detained for posting images and comments on self-harm "tasks" to a Tencent QQ chat group.
Though in what can be considered a relief, there has been no report of any player committing suicide in China yet but given the huge population of young