(Trigger warning: Talk of suicide and self-harm below.)
A viral new self-harm "game" that ends in the suicide of its players has been gaining momentum online, especially among teenagers. In Russia, where the game allegedly originated, more than 100 teens have already died as a result, according to Reuters (possibly more than 130, The Daily Mail reported).
And now the horrifying game seems to be rapidly spreading to other parts of the world.
Police are concerned that the "blue whale" challenge, as it's known, is making Chilean teens its next target.
Blue whale consists of "a series of rules that are imposed on teenagers," 19-year-old Fabian Cisterna (above) told Reuters in Santiago, Chile. "This game is aimed at youngsters from the ages of 14 to 16 years. What I have seen on social media is that they organize challenges and in the end... they are forced to kill themselves."
The game may have gotten its name from the belief that some blue whales voluntarily beach themselves to end their own lives.
According to a thread on Reddit, those who play have to follow ruled dictated by a "curator," who orders the player to complete a number of increasingly morbid and harmful challenges over 50 days, from watching psychedelic horror videos at certain times of night to cutting yourself with a razor to, eventually, suicide.
Police and school educators have already begun warning parents in England and Ireland about the game, in case it reaches the UK.
"We advise parents to monitor their child's device for access to [a] game, Blue Whale, which encourages young people to take their own lives," St. Catherine's Armagh, a private school in Northern Ireland, tweeted from its official Twitter on Friday.
Self-harm and suicide in the age of social media is becoming an increasingly prevalent epidemic among young adults, with kids livestreaming themselves taking their own lives on Facebook and other social networks. The existence of a "game" like this only fuels this terrifying trend, especially among individuals in their impressionable teenage years.