On Tuesday morning, Franklin Graham posted a warning on his Facebook page to all parents. He was warning against a popular phone game called the “Blue Whale Challenge.” This game is an extremely harmful tool and needs to be shut down immediately.
The game first appeared in 2015 when a 17-year-old Russian girl posted a “goodbye selfie” moments before committing suicide. The photo went viral and brought international attention to the challenge, which is now growing in popularity.
The game assigns participants 50 tasks to complete. The tasks range in intensity, but all are harmful. They include watching scary videos, posting hashtags on social media, and various forms of self-harming. The final task is a “suggestion” to the participant to take their own life. If participants fail to complete tasks, the anonymous administrator will threaten them.
The game has already been linked to at least 147 teen suicides in Russia alone, though it has been associated with many others around the world. The game creator, 22-year-old Philipp Budeikin, was recently convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. He explained that his motive was to cleanse society of “biodegradable waste.”
Franklin Graham posted on his Facebook page a warning to all parents.
He wrote, “Parents, be warned. There are people out there who are trying to twist and manipulate the minds of children and teens. The ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ sounds innocent doesn’t it? Something that you might let your children or grandchildren play? In reality though, it’s a series of dark tasks called ‘challenges’ young people are manipulated into performing that become progressively more evil.”
After explaining some of the tasks, Graham continued, “They use fear to try to push participants (called ‘whales’) into 50 challenges over 50 days. If they fail to complete a task, they and their family are threatened. Unbelievable isn’t it? Thankfully, the sadistic 22-year-old creator of the game was recently arrested and jailed. Parents, be involved. Make sure your children are protected from evil social media predators like this.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention released a statement about the game and warned parents and teachers as well. They also included steps that a guardian should take if they are concerned about their child using this game.
The foundation suggested that parents should check in with their child and ask open-ended questions without judgment, monitor online and social media activity, ask if any of their friends have exhibited warning signs in order to start a conversation, and remind them that they are supported. Additionally, they suggested not to bring up the specific game if a parent does not have reason to believe that their child knows about it. If you feel your child is at risk, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Had you heard about this game? What do you think about this? Please share your prayers on our Facebook page and SHARE with fellow parents, guardians, or teachers so that everyone can be aware of this dangerous game. Also, have you heard about the massive recall that just happened at this popular retail store for children and teens? Read about it here and make sure your children don't have this product at home.