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Blue Whale: what parents should know

Stories related to the online craze ‘Blue Whale’ have become increasingly widespread in the UK due to the high level of coverage on social media. However, so far, while there have been some suicides claimed to have been caused by the craze, it is not been proved that any were a direct result of the game.[1]

Blue Whale has been described as an online game, originating in Russia, where participants are tasked with various sinister challenges over the course of 50 days. As time progresses, the challenges become more and more severe, starting from watching horror films to self-harming and then culminating in a ‘suicide challenge.’ The name of the game makes reference to when blue whales occasionally beach themselves and die.

What you should know

Blue Whale is an example of how stories can spread, sometimes creating panic, without any real evidence behind them.

It seems to be a useful example of 'fake news' and adults looking after children could refer to it when talking about critical thinking with children.

For parents, maintaining an active interest in your child’s online life has become as important as knowing where they are and what they’re doing in the offline world. Make sure they know who they can talk to if they come across something that troubles or worries them and, more importantly, show them how they can block or make a report on popular social media sites.

Remind your child to challenge what they read, hear or are told – both in the online and offline world. Because news stories relating to ‘Blue Whale’ are continuing to circulate online, teach them to fact-check and use reliable sources in order to understand the difference between credible and fake news.

[1]http://www.snopes.com/blue-whale-game-suicides-russia/

Further information on Blue Whale and the spreading of fake news

https://www.buzzfeed.com/krishrach/blue-whale-panic?utm_term=.scbD13VqG#.lhkgye6j7

http://www.netfamilynews.org/blue-whale-game-fake-news-teens-spread-internationally

Updated 16 May 2017