A 12-year-old girl says she fell for a “game” that tries to convince people to take their lives through a series of challenges.
The girl's mom, Melissa Patton, is now going public about an online game that is also known as the suicide game. It’s called the Blue Whale Challenge. "People think this is a hoax, but its not," she said.
Patton said she found out her 12-year-old daughter was taking part when she found a series of deleted photos in her daughter's 'deleted album' on her cell phone.
The images showed her daughter carving the phrase F57 into her thigh.
Melissa Patton said she found out her 12-year-old daughter was taking part when she found a series of deleted photos in her daughter's 'deleted album' on her cell phone (Source: Melissa Patton)
Patton says her daughter received an invite to play the game through Instagram and as soon as she accepted to play she would receive daily text messages for 50 days.
"After 50 days the next step is to commit suicide," she said.
Sample list of Blue Whale Challenge circulaitng internet, shared on Twitter.
The way the challenge reportedly works is a curator or administrator will accept a willing participant. The administrator will then send daily challenges.
A list being shared online shows a sample of a list. It includes things like “cut your lip” and “visit any railroad you can find”. The daily directions come for 50 days, with the final one reportedly being an directive to commit suicide.
Patton says her daughter was already struggling with depression and that her daughter follows Instagram accounts geared toward people with depression. Patton believes the person who reached out to her daughter about the Blue Whale Challenge found her on that site. She also discovered later that her daughter had changed her bio on Instagram to read "I_am_whale", which she now understands is a way some indicate they are involved in the challenge.
Crisis intervention experts say you can be proactive and ask your kids if they've heard of the game.
They say to first know what you're talking about, educate yourself about the game and then ask questions.
How does this make you feel?
Do you know people who have tried it?
Do you know where it comes from?
Experts say to make eye contact, and remain calm.
Workers at Two Rivers Hospital in Kansas City say they've heard of this and would be prepared to answer questions.