Online harassment is growing and has become a huge issue in many parts of the world. People can be affected in many ways by bullies and criminals online, and the most vulnerable victims suffer the most because they are easily manipulated.
Russian authorities are currently investigating a case related to online abuse. Two girls—aged 15 and 12—took their own lives; the tragic incident is believed to be connected to “Blue Whale”, which is the notorious online “game” forcing people to do horrible “tasks” by threatening and manipulating them.
Anastasia Svetozarova and her half-sister Maria Vinogradova from the town of Izhevsk are believed to have jumped off the roof of the apartment building they lived in. The town is situated approximately 1,200 kilometers from Moscow.
Their bodies were found on the pavement in front of the 10-story building.
Maria was reportedly depressed and upset after the mother of the teenage girls took her to see a gynecologist because she began a relationship with some boy named Dmitry.
Local reports state that the mother was quite angry about Dmitry, and friends of the girls said that the younger sister Anastasia was depressed as well.
Over the past few years, hundreds of Russian kids and teenagers lost their lives in connection with the “Blue Whale” game. It is believed that they took their own lives because the game mechanism brainwashed them and forced them to do it.
The game pushes the most vulnerable amongst the players to complete 50 tasks over a limited period of time, and the last thing on the list is suicide.
Police have been investigating the case for quite some time, and they are currently still working on it.
The authorities intend to carefully study the girls’ smartphones and computers in order to be able to find evidence connecting them to suicide groups. These groups exist with the sole intention of twisting and exploiting the victims’ emotions.
Prior to her death, Maria posted a picture with a message to her boyfriend, saying that she wanted him to forgive her and also that she loved him very much, adding that he would also find a better girl.
The “Blue Whale” game is coordinated by a group that has a couple of hundred thousand posts connected with the worrying trend on Instagram.
The 50 tasks that are given to the victim must be finished in 50 days, and some of them include self-harm, watching some of the most terrifying scary movies, and a deliberate lack of sleep.
The younger girl—Anastasia—also posted a message before her death, saying goodbye and that she truly loved everyone very much.
Major-General Alexey Moshkov is the head of the Russian anti-computer crime K department, which is part of the Interior Ministry. About four months ago, he made a statement saying that there are 1,339 of the aforementioned suicide groups. The audience of all of them—in total—is about 12,000 users, and they wrote more than 200,000 posts.
Major-General Moshkov’s estimations suggest that there are 230 criminal cases against 19 of the “brains” behind the game who have already been apprehended. The so-called “masterminds” are the people who come up with the horrible tasks and give them to their victims.
One of these people was arrested a few months ago, and it turned out to be a 17-year-old female teenager from Russia. She threatened her victims’ families if the orders were not followed strictly, thus encouraging and influencing a number of kids and teenagers to hurt themselves or take their own lives.
Around the same time, a man at the age of 21 was arrested near Moscow, having been accused of manipulating young girls to commit suicide. The creator of the “Blue Whale” game is believed to be none other than Philipp Budeikin, a 21-year-old man from Russia, but it is unclear if the arrested man was Budeikin or not.
The game was named what it was because of the strange phenomenon observed among these mammals—some of them voluntarily beach themselves and eventually die.