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BRTC to probe ‘Blue Whale’ game

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FT ONLINE

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Monday said Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has been directed to investigate the suicidal game Blue Whale.

Talking to reporters at his office, the minister said, “A team is working to find out how many people have committed suicide after being instigated by the game.”

“We’ll take action after scrutinising all the information of the game,” he added.

The home boss came with the directives after a man in the capital blamed the game for the suicide of his teenage girl which went viral on the social media rising fear against it.

The Blue Whale Challenge’, known as a ‘suicide game’, is an online game which reportedly leads the player to die by suicide after completing some tasks at different levels of the game.

An expelled psychology student in Russia claimed to have invented the game. Experts believe copycat groups are using it now.

A number of deaths by suicide triggered by the game were reported in India recently.

What is Blue Whale Challenge?

The Blue Whale game or Blue Whale Challenge is believed to be a suicide game wherein a group of administrators or a certain curator gives a participant a task to complete daily — for a period of 50 days — the final of which is the participant committing suicide. Participants are expected to share photos of the challenges/tasks completed by them.
These daily tasks start off easy — such as listening to certain genres of music, waking up at odd hours, watching a horror movie, among others, and then slowly escalate to carving out shapes on one’s skin, self-mutilation and eventually suicide.
There is still uncertainty over how a participant plays the game. While some say the user has to install some app on their smart phone, others say it’s via social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook where the administrators get in touch with the participant after those interested throw out postings on social media asking for a “curator”. A number of different hashtags— #bluewhalechallenge, #curatorfindme, #i_am_whale — act as signals for the anonymous curators.
It must be noted, however, that there still is no confirmation of the existence of the game, and suicides linked to it are from personal accounts of families/friends of those deceased who claim they have seen their loved ones performing tasks. While reports of suicides linked to the game have surfaced across the globe, authorities claim that the origin appears to be in Russia, which has reportedly seen about 130 related deaths and at least two arrests.
Schools as well as police officials in Europe and America have begun issuing advisories to parents urging them to be vigilant and to keep an eye out on what their children are sharing on their social media accounts.

-NK

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