ALL YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE ‘DEADLY’ BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE
The Blue Whale challenge is occupying more mind space than any other online game in recent memory. So what exactly is it? We take you on a deep dive.
Let us get straight to the point. First of all, unlike what most people think, it is not a downloadable game, app or software .
INVENTOR: The Blue Whale killer challenge was developed by a Russian psychology student, Philipp Budeikin. He was expelled from his university and said in a statement that he invented the game to ‘clean’ the society of people who are of no value.
Another 17-year old Russian girl has been detained recently as she is accused of being the ‘mastermind’ behind the game. Earlier a participant herself, she is known to be responsible for introducing the 50 challenges which instruct the players to self-harm.
WHY THE NAME? Blue Whale name comes from the fact that blue whales occasionally beach themselves intentionally and die.
ORIGIN: The killer online game originated in Russia and has now spread to other parts of the world. It is not freely available and is not a downloadable game, app or software. It is shared among very secretive groups on social media networks. Many reports suggest that you don’t choose to play Blue Whale, the creators seek you out and send you an invitation to join.
HOW IS IT PLAYED? An online administrator gives the player challenges over a period of 50 days. After completion of every task, the player is expected to share photo as proof for approval. The first few challenges are easy but the subsequent ones turn sinister, challenging you to hurt yourself. They are meant to condition you to ultimately commit suicide. The tasks are ‘adaptable’ and are tweaked by the curator as per the geographical location of the player.
Although there is no clear set of 50 challenges, given below is the list of the likely tasks that are given to the participant. These were shared by someone on Reddit. As said earlier, the task may vary for participants depending on the player’s geographical location. It could even change according to the player’s age and sex. To be honest, it could even depend on the whims of the administrator.
1. On your arm, carve ‘f57’ (name of death and suicide group in Russia) with a blade.
2. Wake up at 4:20 am and watch scary videos.
3. Cut your arm along with your veins (not deep), only three cuts.
4. Draw a whale on a piece of paper.
5. If you’re ready to ‘become a whale’, you write “yes” with the blade on your leg, if not, you have to cut yourself many times (as a punishment).
6. Task is in code.
7. On your arm, carve ‘f40’ (another Russian death and suicide group) with a blade.
8. Write in the status #I_am_Whale.
9. You should overcome your fear.
10. Get up at 4:20 am and go to the roof.
11. It is necessary to scratch out a whale on the hand (or make a drawing on the hand).
12. Watch scary videos the whole day.
13. Listen to music that they send to you.
14. Cut your lip.
15. Poke the needle arm.
16. Hurt yourself.
17. Go to the highest roof you can find and stand on the edge.
18. Go to a bridge and stand on the edge.
19. Climb on a crane or at least try.
20. Curators check if you are trustworthy.
21. Talk with another ‘whale’ (someone else who is also playing the same game) on Skype.
22. Sit down on the edge of a roof with your feet dangling.
23. Another task in a code.
24. Secret task.
25. Meet with a ‘whale’.
26. Curator tells you the date of your death and you must accept it.
27. Wake up at 4:20 am and go to any railroad in your area.
28. Do not talk with anyone.
29. Take an oath that you’re a whale.
30-49. Every day you wake up at 4:20 am, watch scary videos, listen to music that they send, make cuts on your body each day and talk to a ‘whale’.
50. Jump off a high roof and take your life.
WHO IS THE JUDGE? The admins control the challenges. People have tried to use photo-shopped images as proofs, but the perception is that they cannot be fooled. One reporter from a European Radio station tried it and was caught out and they stopped communicating with him.
HOW DO THEY FIND YOU? You cannot find the admin or download. The admins find you. They generally scour the internet and ferret out those who are depressed or have displayed other psychological traits that make them vulnerable, or ideal targets, to be contacted. These could be looking at target’s public profile, Instagram and other social posts, etc. The curator or admins also seek out people from death groups and suicide squads on VK.com aka Vkontakte, the largest online social media and network in Russia.
All efforts by us to locate the game generated no results.
WHY CAN’T YOU STOP MIDWAY? Theory is that once they admit you as a player, you have to accept a cookie and that gives them access to your entire data online. And this data is the lever they have to blackmail anyone who wants to back out. Cases abound of the admins blackmailing and cyber bullying such individuals into completing all tasks. They threaten to hurt their family or reveal all his personal data online.
WHY CAN’T THE ‘GAME’ BE BLOCKED? First up, it is far from a game. There is not a single person or unit who is managing it. As the inventors of the game have been put behind the bars, many wonder how the game is still spreading. It is simply because of the various mirror games that have now been created and are carried over by many curators who are spread far and wide. The police and law enforcement authorities worldwide are at their wits end trying to block access to the ‘game’.
It is so scattered and decentralized that banning it is not possible. Tracking the IP addresses of the curators has also not yielded desirable results so far.
IS THE GAME KNOWN BY OTHER NAMES? Yes, there are several other names that are used. With the name Blue Whale getting blocked from across social media platforms, there are other names of the game that have originated. These names include ‘A Silent House’, ‘A Sea of Whales’, ‘Wake Me Up At 4.20 am’.
SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Celebrity psychologist Seema Hingorrany is getting multiple queries from parents. “They are scared, especially parents who are getting their kids treated for ADHD and video game addiction.” Below are signs that parents can keep an eye on:
– A recent tendency in the child to stay aloof
– Any changes in diet or sleep pattern of child
– Any cuts or wounds on the body
– Staying up at night around 4:20 am
The children who may be more prone to Blue Whale challenge are those who may talk about running away from home or about death in general.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
– Parents need to maintain an effective communication with the kids. Take interest in what they do and spend their time in.
– Give them space enough to let them unfold their feelings without restraint.
– Instead of complaining or reprimanding them about their spending time by themselves or for crying, try to understand the reason for such behaviour.
– Make it a rule to talk to your child for 20 minutes every day and let them do the talking. This will help you to read any signs of trouble that they may be going through.
– As the world is getting digitized, it is extremely important for you to bridge that gap by staying updated of their digital activity. Keep an eye on what they do on the internet.
– If you are tracking your child’s activity on the web, you can look out for words such as ‘F57’ or ‘F40’ or the other names by which the game is addressed, that is, “Quiet House”, “The Silent House”, “Wake me up at 4:20am” or “The Sea of Whales”. You must also keep a tab on hashtagged forms of these words also.
LARGER ISSUE AT HAND: To say that the Blue Whale challenge is entirely and wholly responsible for participants committing suicide is not right. Experts are saying that the larger issue at hand is that of depression. Some are even calling the game an ‘urban legend’ and in the process of focusing too much on it, we are ignoring more important issues at hand, like mental health issues among children. It is very clear that the most vulnerable children to the Blue Whale challenge are those who have an active or underlying depression. The participation in such a game can be an act of demanding attention from others or a form of punishing the parents for not giving the child enough time.
When it comes to potato, we only think about it as a carb laden food, which makes us gain weight. Many don’t even think it qualifies to be called a vegetable – after all vegetables are supposed to be healthy. But much to your surprise (and delight of foodies), this is not entirely true. Today we debunk nine myths about potatoes which will change the way you view them.
Myth: Sweet potatoes are good and white potatoes are bad
Fact: Both the types of potatoes have their own benefits and nutritional value. 100 grams serving of both type of potato contain:
Sweet potato White potato
Fibre: 3 grams Fibre: 2.1 grams
Potassium: 5% Potassium: 3.5%
Vitamin C: 33% Vitamin C: 16%
Magnesium: 6% Magnesium: 5%
Iron: 4% Iron: 6%
So, the conclusion is that they both are not that different to occupy opposite ends as good or bad. In fact looking at the values we can say that they are somewhat similar.
Myth: Potatoes spike blood sugar because they are full of carbs
Fact: Glycemic index ranks foods based on how much they increase blood sugar levels. So, to avoid drastic increase in blood sugar it is said you must have foods that have a low glycemic index.
Potatoes have a medium glycemic index and do not raise the blood sugar levels dangerously high. Glycemic index of potato is 56. The main thing is the form in which you consume the potato. Deep frying and shallow frying makes them fattening.
Myth: You should eat only 1 potato a month
Fact: Consumption of potato depends on the level of your activity and nutrition you need in a day. If your daily activity is average and you also have a balanced diet, you can eat one potato a day.
Myth: Potatoes are full of calories
Fact: A big fat sized potato, which is generally not available in Indian grocery store contains 258 calories (flesh and skin) which includes 0.37-gram fat, 57.97-grams carb and 6.2-grams protein. Potatoes lead to weight gain only if consumed regularly in large amount. Also, what matters is the form in which they are consumed. Baked and steamed potatoes are considered to be the best form.
Myth: Potato is not a vegetable
Fact: Potatoes are botanically classified as a vegetable, but they are classified nutritionally as a starchy food. This is because when eaten as part of a meal, they are generally used in place of other starchy carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta or rice.
Myth: Potatoes ruin weight loss plan
Fact: When potatoes are cooked in a healthy way like baked, boiled, roasted or steamed they cause no harm to any weight loss plan. In fact, since they are complex carbohydrates, they aid weight loss. But if you team up potatoes with cream, cheese, butter or any other dip, they will surely contribute to weight gain. Things like fries and chips should be avoided.
Myth: Potatoes contain simple carbohydrates
Fact: This is untrue. Potatoes contain complex carbohydrates which provide our body with much needed energy. By providing instant calories, they replenish the level of glucose in the blood. This is a primary reason why climbers feed on potatoes before any hectic event.
Myth: Potatoes make you gain weight as they are full of carbs
Fact: Carbs are not our enemy, in fact, our brain functions solely on carbs so we need a certain amount of it to keep our thinking sharp. Cutting carbs does not make us skinny. In fact, researchers suggest that high carb diets are more successful in weight loss than low carb diets. And there has been no convincing evidence yet which relate intake of potatoes with the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Myth: Peeling potatoes takes away all its nutrients
Fact: Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium more than a banana. It also has Vitamin B6 and carbohydrates. A small potato packs about 110 calories in it. The only thing you are losing out on by peeling those potatoes is the fiber. In other words, it’s not a make or break scenario if you can not stand eating the peel.