Wilmington Public Schools Warns Parents Of ‘Blue Whale Challenge’

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Public Schools Coordinator of Behavioral Health and Social Emotional Support Christine Murray recently sent the following warning to parents last week:

I have recently become aware of a new social media app that I would like to caution you about that may cause serious harm to our children. The app is called THE BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE and the “game” is administered by an online leader and takes place over 50 days. The leader gives players tasks to accomplish each day and the demands increase to dangerous, risky or self-harm challenges. On the 50th day, players are reportedly instructed to commit suicide. (The game can reach children through Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube, and texting.”

“Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among Americans age 10-14 and the second among people 15-34,” according to 2015 statistics from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Although this can be a sensitive topic for many, it is imperative as educators, parents, and guardians, we commit to being aware of some of the warning signs of this social media app and take a proactive approach in the prevention of such harm. Some warning signs include:

  • Pictures, drawings or photos of blue whales
  • Hashtag #BlueWhaleChallenge on your child’s social media accounts
  • Photos of dangerous challenges being documented
  • Children talking about themselves or their friends doing challenges on social media

I encourage you to take precautionary measures and carefully monitor your child’s social media accounts and have open discussions with them regarding any new games or popular challenges they are playing or hearing about. For more information:

USA Today (5/25/17): https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/25/blue-whale-challenge-viral-social-challenge-worries-schools/347495001/

CNN (7/17/17): http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/17/health/blue-whale-suicide-game/index.html

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