06 May 2017

Technology is coming for you.
What happens when an adrenalin junkie meets a social media addict? When FOMO and YOLO become your daily mantras? When your neck is perpetually craning downwards into various screens instead of paying attention to stuff around you? Disaster.


Blue Whale, a recent app-based game, has shaken the world and has parents panicking all over the place. Why? It’s a curated social media group that urges people to join in and download the game on their phones. The curator then rolls out a set of tasks that all subscribers should perform within 50 days, click a picture of completed tasks and repost completion to win the game.

Sounds perfectly normal, right?


But, wait. There’s more—once you agree to participate, you can’t leave. The tasks include watching a psychedelic horror movie alone, and harming yourself (for instance cutting through your skin to draw a whale). And it only gets worse, finally leading up to the ultimate task—to commit suicide. Try bailing out, and the moderators of the game will send you threats (“we have all your data”, “they’re coming for you”). It’s also coded in a way that once installed, this game can’t be deleted. The worst part? It hacks into your personal data, which is then used against the participants who refuse to perform. How we wish we were kidding.


What started in Russia is now spreading to the UK and Dubai leaving educational institutions and parents in a frenzy. Novaya Gazeta, an investigative newspaper in Russia, reported that 130 teenage suicides have been recorded in Russia in the last six months (November 2015 – April 2016)—most of these teens were signed up to Blue Whale. However, there is no evidence yet to prove that these deaths are directly related to the game, the suspicion is legit and the probe is on.



With shows like Black Mirror and movies like Nerve, we have all shuddered at the thought of exactly this sort of thing in real life. But we’ve all also rubbished it immediately because why the hell would you voluntarily sign up for something so messed up? It can’t be. And yet, amassing popularity are insane things like one-way tickets to Mars, the Charlie Charlie Challenge (which promised interactions with paranormal entities and went viral in 2015), and Blue Whale. This goes beyond morbid fascination, and we’re struggling to understand it.


The future is here. But what are you going to do with it?