The death of a 16-year-old boy in Kenya who committed suicide in their house in Kamukunji, Nairobi, after playing Blue Whale, the online game that encourages killing oneself has yet again brought out the dark side of social media and the internet.
Jamie Njenga, a form two student at JG Kiereini Secondary School in Kiambu, had on Thursday played this online game, known as the Blue Whale Challenge. The suicide game, which started in Russia in February, has 50 challenges and the player is considered the winner when he or she goes through the last challenge: committing suicide.
The game has claimed more than 100 lives of teenagers across the world, majority of them in Russia.
According to reports, when a player signs up for the game, they are assigned an administrator who provides them with a daily task to complete for 50 days. They are required to send photographic proof of each completed task.
These tasks are initially simple enough, such as watching a horror movie or waking up at odd hours but these eventually require the player to inflict harm upon themselves.
The underlying premise of the game is as follows: you sign up and are given an administrator, or curator. This curator gives you things to do, over the course of 50 days, and you must send proof that you have carried out their demands. At the end of the 50 days, as it were, you win by committing suicide.
Russian authorities believe the man behind this horrible creation is Filip Budeikin, who is currently facing charges for driving at least 15 teenagers to commit suicide.
In a disturbing interview with the saint-petersburg.ru media outlet, Budeikin admitted the real number was 17 as at February and said his victims “died happy.”
“I gave them that which they did not have in their real life: warmth, understanding, connection,” he said.
Philipp Budeikin, 21, was detained last year, and he has been charged with organising eight groups between 2013 and 2016 which ‘promote suicide’.
Some 15 teenagers committed suicide, and another five were rescued at the last moment, according to the case against him.
Children are told on such social media that ‘the best things in life start with the letter ‘S’ – semiya (family), Saturday, sex, suicide.’
A song tells them: ‘We have left for the open space, we have nothing left in this world’.
The children are asked: ‘How many dull days like this are you going to drag yourself through?’
A picture of an approaching train has a sign: ‘This world is not for us.’
A photograph of teens on a roof is captioned: ‘We are children of the dead generation.’
ONE CORRESPONDENT FROM RFE/RL WANTED TO SEE HOW THE BLUE WHALE GAME WORKED, SO THEY CREATED A FAKE PROFILE OF A 15-YEAR OLD GIRL, ON THE VKONTAKE SITE. THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPTION OF THEIR ONLINE CONVERSATION:
“I want to play the game.”
“Are you sure? There is no way back,” responded a so-called curator of the Blue Whale game.
“Yes. What does that mean — no way back?”
“You can’t leave the game once you begin.”
“I’m ready.” Then the curator explained the rules.
“You carry out each task diligently, and no one must know about it. When you finish a task, you send me a photo. And at the end of the game, you die. Are you ready?”
“And if I want to get out?”
“I have all your information. They will come after you.”
The first task given to the corespondent was to scratch “F58” into her arm. They tried to fool the curator with a photoshopped image, but the curator ceased to respond.
Over the course of about a week, RFE/RL managed to contact more than a dozen self-proclaimed current and former players and several curators.
“I am your personal whale,” another curator wrote, explaining that the game consisted of 50 tasks spread over 50 days. “I will help you take the game all the way to the end. The last day is the end of the game. If you die, you win. If you don’t, we will help you. Are you ready?”
The curator then promised to send the first task at 4:20 a.m. But by then, the curator’s account had been blocked.