The Blue Whale Challenge led news reports in 2017-2018 because of rumors that teens may be committing suicide after following 50 tasks suggested by the game. Although many people had believed this was a hoax, some families came forward and shared that they believe their children committed suicide because of the game’s influence. Now the challenge is resurfacing again in 2020 along with accounts going by the name “Jonathan Galindo.”
What are the 50 tasks? Knowing what the challenges are can help parents and friends watch for signs that their children may be participating. Although the tasks may change over time, the following 50 tasks listed below were reported on Russian and Lithuanian websites as being associated with the Challenge. The tasks were originally found by native speakers on Reddit here. It is believed that the Blue Whale challenge originated on Russian social media.
A man was arrested in Russia for starting the challenge, and he admitted to trying to use psychological manipulation to convince teen girls to kill themselves. (Note: If you came here after hearing about the Momo Challenge, you can learn more about Momo in Heavy’s story here.)
The 50 Tasks
Here are the tasks as they were known in 2017-2018, taken from several sets that were shared and translated on Reddit. If you see any signs that a friend or loved one may be doing the tasks, please talk to them and consult law enforcement and a suicide hotline for help.
Some media reports say that participants are required to send photos to a “curator” or a “whale” proving they did the tasks. The “whale” is often an older person who is manipulating them and does not do the tasks themselves.
- Carve a specific phrase on the person’s own hand or arm.
- Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and watch a scary video (sent by the curator.)
- Make lengthwise cuts on the person’s own arm.
- Draw a whale on a piece of paper
- Write “yes” on the person’s own leg if ready to be a whale. Otherwise, they should cut themselves multiple times.
- Secret task (written in code.)
- Scratch (a message) on the person’s own arm.
- Write a status online about being a whale.
- Overcome a fear.
- Get up at 4:20 and go to the roof.
- Carve a whale on the person’s own hand.
- Watch scary videos all day.
- Listen to music the “curator” sends.
- Cut your lip.
- Poke the person’s own arm/hand with a needle.
- Make yourself hurt or sick.
- Go to a roof and stand on the edge.
- Stand on a bridge.
- Climb a crane.
- At this step, the “curator” somehow checks to see if the participant is trustworthy.
- Talk with a “whale” on Skype.
- Sit down on a roof with legs dangling over the edge.
- Another job that is in code.
- A secret mission
- Meet with a “whale.”
- The “curator” assigns a date that the person will die.
- Visit a railroad.
- Do not talk with anyone all day.
- Give an oath/vow about being a whale
After these steps, steps 30-49 involve watching horror movies and listening to music that the curator picks, talking to a whale, and making cuts. The last task is jumping off a building.
How Psychological Manipulation Works
Some experts believe these tasks may convince an impressionable young person to hurt themselves because of the “whale’s” influence. A number of tasks involve talking to a “whale” or Skyping with them. This might be the time when psychological manipulation takes effect.
Kati Morton, a licensed therapist, explained on this YouTube video why she believes the tasks work:
It should be noted, again, that it’s not known if the tasks above are authentic and they could be changed at any time, even if they are.
Tasks to Encourage & Build People Up
On Reddit, where the challenges were shared, Redditor diugo88 came up with a set of “anti-challenges” designed to boost your self-esteem. These are the challenges that should be spread around:
- Write on a white paper ‘I’m strong, I can do everything I want!’ for 50 times.
- Take a walk listening some electroswing (parov stelar for instance)
- Wake up at 10 am, open the window and listen the outside sounds thinking, ‘I’m happy to live’ many times.
- Go see a sunset while listening some jazz (bossanova, coltrane for instance). Experience its beauty.
- Try to cook some food you like, eat it with some friends\parents\others you like.
- Wake up at 5.30 am, have a good breakfast and then go out watch your city waking up. No music here.
- Try to talk with at least 5 different unknown people about something for at least 5 minutes each.
- Try to talk with someone who does not like you and try to make him a friend.
- Take a walk in the afternoon with some music.
- Take a whole day to do what you like. Life is beautiful; don’t throw it away.
- Spam these rules to other people.
- Force yourself to talk with another gamer (or friend or person) about your problems.
- Try to help another gamer with his/her problems. You can make the difference, you are special.
- Take a walk with someone, talk about your hopes and desires, and ask about his/her hopes and dreams.
- Repeat point 1
- Repeat point 2
- Repeat point 3
- Repeat point 4
- Repeat point 5
- Repeat point 6
- Repeat point 7
- Repeat point 8
- Repeat point 9
- Repeat point 10
- Repeat point 11
- Repeat point 12
- Repeat point 13
- Repeat point 14
- You are ready for the last test. Think about your progress, write your feelings about all the steps previously addressed, and give it to a person who you think would appreciate it.
- Live your life happily. You really do not need a curator to control you. You are free, you are special, remember it whenever you are sad and you feel no way out. I love you.
If you or someone you love is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours every day:1-800-273-8255. An online chat is also available.