Social media ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ urges teens to commit suicide, parents say

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A father believes an online game called the “Blue Whale Challenge” caused his 15-year-old son to commit suicide.

Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, was found hanging in his bedroom closet Saturday morning in his family’s home. Next to his body, the teen’s cellphone was streaming his death on social media.

Parents said that teens reach out to game administrators called “curators” through social media. Those curators then lead the “players” through 50 days of challenges. The challenges range from watching scary movie clips, self mutilation and taking pictures of themselves in dangerous positions such as on the edge of a roof. The final challenge is suicide.

Gonzalez’s family said the teen sent pictures of himself completing some of the dares to his friends but they thought it was a joke.

Jorge Gonzalez, Isaiah’s father said the people that encouraged his son to perform the dares threatened his family.

“They tell them, ‘If you say anything we’re going to come to your home and we’re going to kill your family’,” he said.

The online game reportedly started in Russia two years ago and has been linked to numerous teen suicides across the world. On Monday, a 16-year-old girl in Atlanta also took her own life.

Individuals are working to put an end to the online challenge and those who try searching the hashtag #bluewhalechallenge on Instagram will see a warning that offers help to people who may harm themselves.

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