School divisions in the province are warning parents of a dangerous online game involving self-harm called the “Blue Whale Challenge.”
Started in Eastern Europe, the game consists of a series of risky tasks, escalating in danger, given to players by anonymous “administrators” during a 50-day period. The final challenge dares players to take their own life.
“We were slightly alarmed when we heard about this game,” said Quintin Robertson, CEO of Good Spirit School Division.
“We thought it would be advisable to get the information out to our schools and our families.”
The Yorkton region school division sent a memo home at the end of the school year to educate parents ahead of summer break. Horizon School Division out of Humboldt did the same thing, after being warned by Wakaw RCMP.
“It was something sent out to RCMP across the country, so we felt parents should know as well,” division CEO Kevin Garinger said.
“I had parents thanking me for making them aware because they didn’t know this game was on the internet.”
In the memo, parents are warned about possible indicators of participation, including the use of social media hashtags “blue whale”, “sea of whales”, “I’m in the game”, “wake me up at 420”, “i_am_whale” and “F57.”
Participants are also tasked with carving or tattooing a picture of a blue whale on their arm.
According to international media reports, the game has been linked to more than 100 suicide deaths in Russia.
There are no known reports of Canadian suicides directly linked to the game, nor have any of his students participated in the challenge.
“We just want to keep our children safe,” Garinger said.
Request for comment from the Saskatchewan RCMP and Canadian Mental Health Association wasn’t returned before press time.
Mental health supports can be accessed through the provincial HealthLine service at 811.