Suicide Game ‘Blue Whale’ in Georgia?

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has released a statement regarding the widespread suicide game ‘Blue Whale,’ in which participants are allegedly assigned to a curator who instructs that various acts of self-harm to be committed over the course of 50 days. The ministry reports that the game is widespread in Russia, Great Britain and in a number of European states.

“According to the game rules, the player receives several dozen instructions which may contain appeals to commit self-injury. At the end of the game, the player is given the final instruction from the “master,” who demands the player to commit suicide, which often results in severe bodily injury or death,” the ministry reported.

The MIA said that the Central Criminal Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched investigation into a potential case of Bringing to the Point of Suicide (Article 115) and Creation, Use or Circulation of Computer Damaging Program (Article 285). The main goal of the investigation is to determine if the game is related to the Georgian internet space.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs calls on internet users to refrain from widely disseminating information on the topic, which may in turn promote the popularization of the game in adolescents,” said the report.

The Ministry of Education of Georgia has also strengthened monitoring at schools in order to prevent any cases of the game spreading among teenagers. The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) reports that at one Tbilisi public school, seven students have been interrogated in connection to the aforementioned game. GPB said that four girls and three boys inflicted injuries on themselves and had multiple cuts on their arms. It raised suspicion that the incident might be linked to the suicide game, but an official statement has yet to be released by law enforcement.

Deputy Education Minister, Lia Gigauri, told GPB that the pupils have not confirmed that they participated in the Blue Whale Challenge. “The fact that the students have not confirmed their participation in the game might be caused by the fear that they will be punished,” she said, adding that they have checked all the pupils of the school but no other injuries have been revealed so far. “Teachers at all schools have an asked to monitor the students and if they find any signs of injuries they will report to the police,” she added.

Gigauri says that monitoring at schools alone will not help to prevent this problem and called on the parents to watch their children at home, especially monitering their use of the internet.

Several days ago, Rustavi 2 TV reported that a 12-year old girl tried to commit suicide, allegedly as part of the game. The girl jumped from the fifth floor but survived and is undergoing medical treatment at hospital with multiple injuries and traumas. Police have launched an investigation into the case, but no official statements have been made.

Since 2013, the game Blue Whale, which spread from Russia to other countries, has targeted juveniles. The term ‘Blue Whale’ comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is likened to suicide. While the phenomenon has received significant media attention, very little reliable evidence is available for either the game's existence or its role in any of several well published child and teenage suicides or acts of self-harm.

The BBC says that there is no official data that specifically links any death to the Blue Whale challenge. According to rumors, the game has resulted in the deaths of 300 teenagers in the world since it was launched. Novaya Gazeta, a Russian media outlet, has linked 130 suicides to the phenomenon, based on the fact many of the young people who died were in the same online community.

Thea Morrison

01 June 2017 18:10