Fig 1 - uploaded by Ponnurangam Kumaraguru
Content may be subject to copyright.
The list of 50 Tasks as found on Reddit. We find some minor modifications in the list at different sources.

The list of 50 Tasks as found on Reddit. We find some minor modifications in the list at different sources.

Source publication
Article
Full-text available
The Blue Whale Challenge is a series of self-harm causing tasks that are propagated via online social media under the disguise of a "game." The list of tasks must be completed in a duration of 50 days and they cause both physical and mental harm to the player. The final task is to commit suicide. The game is supposed to be administered by people ca...

Contexts in source publication

Context 1
... curators and potential players use online social networks to contact each other. Curators seek out young people on social media who want to take part in the 50-day challenge and subject them to the tasks [14]. Also, a task of the game - authors contributed equally Task 8 in Fig. 1 -asks the player to post to VKontakte (VK), a Russian social net- working website. Posts of the challenge have now spread to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit and other social networks. The creator of the game, Philipp Budeikin, 21 years, was arrested for coaxing 16 schoolgirls to kill themselves [17]. Another Russian, Ilya Sidorov, ...
Context 2
... that most of the users who posted about the Blue Whale Challenge on both VK and Instagram did not have a high number of Followers/Friends. On manual verification, we also found that most of these user IDs were actually new and only contained posts about the challenge. On Twitter, 27.01% of the user accounts in our dataset were created in 2017. Fig. 10(a) shows links between users that are friends on VK and are present in the data collected. Fig. 9 and Fig. 10(b) show links between users based on their comments on others' posts, that is, there is an edge from A to B if A commented on B's post. As we can see the comment network for Instagram is much more sparse as compared to VK. The ...
Context 3
... number of Followers/Friends. On manual verification, we also found that most of these user IDs were actually new and only contained posts about the challenge. On Twitter, 27.01% of the user accounts in our dataset were created in 2017. Fig. 10(a) shows links between users that are friends on VK and are present in the data collected. Fig. 9 and Fig. 10(b) show links between users based on their comments on others' posts, that is, there is an edge from A to B if A commented on B's post. As we can see the comment network for Instagram is much more sparse as compared to VK. The comment network on VK has an average clustering coefficient of 0.012. From Fig. 10(a), we also observe that ...
Context 4
... in the data collected. Fig. 9 and Fig. 10(b) show links between users based on their comments on others' posts, that is, there is an edge from A to B if A commented on B's post. As we can see the comment network for Instagram is much more sparse as compared to VK. The comment network on VK has an average clustering coefficient of 0.012. From Fig. 10(a), we also observe that certain users posting about the Blue Whale Challenge are inter-connected on VK, that is, most of the users in this subset tend to be friends on VK and form communities. The average clustering coefficient of the VK friends graph comes out to be 0.262 -this excludes the nodes which have no edges. On the other hand, ...
Context 5
... Analysis: We used a port of Google's language detection library in python -langdetect -to determine the languages of the posts. English is the most commonly used language in the three social networks. In Fig. 11(a) it is seen that Italian, Persian and German are used in almost equal number of posts on Instagram. In Fig. 11(b) it is seen that Tamil and Hindi are used in quite a few posts on Twitter. In Fig. 11(c) it is seen that a good number of posts on VK are made in Welsh, Romanian and Somali ...
Context 6
... Analysis: We used a port of Google's language detection library in python -langdetect -to determine the languages of the posts. English is the most commonly used language in the three social networks. In Fig. 11(a) it is seen that Italian, Persian and German are used in almost equal number of posts on Instagram. In Fig. 11(b) it is seen that Tamil and Hindi are used in quite a few posts on Twitter. In Fig. 11(c) it is seen that a good number of posts on VK are made in Welsh, Romanian and Somali ...
Context 7
... library in python -langdetect -to determine the languages of the posts. English is the most commonly used language in the three social networks. In Fig. 11(a) it is seen that Italian, Persian and German are used in almost equal number of posts on Instagram. In Fig. 11(b) it is seen that Tamil and Hindi are used in quite a few posts on Twitter. In Fig. 11(c) it is seen that a good number of posts on VK are made in Welsh, Romanian and Somali ...
Context 8
... Information: People reveal sensitive information about themselves like their email addresses and phone numbers so that curators can contact them. In Fig. 12, we see that around 70 phone numbers are revealed by users in posts and comments about the Blue Whale challenge on VK. Some email addresses and phone numbers are also revealed by users on Twitter and Instagram. User Mentions 144 unique user accounts were mentioned in the collected twitter dataset. Most of these user-mentioned accounts ...
Context 9
... challenge. Some typical behaviours shown by these user accounts are: (1) tweets containing less text and more hashtags so as to catch the attention of users including curators, (2) occasional pictures of results of tasks such as carved arms and legs, and (3) low follow-up, that is, most users don't follow up after 1-3 posts about the challenge. Fig. 13 shows these behaviours by accounts found as user-mentions in the collected tweets. We also came across an interesting account that was acting to be a curator and asking users to private message or follow him/her if they wanted to join the game. Fig. 14 shows the profile of this Twitter ...
Context 10
... and (3) low follow-up, that is, most users don't follow up after 1-3 posts about the challenge. Fig. 13 shows these behaviours by accounts found as user-mentions in the collected tweets. We also came across an interesting account that was acting to be a curator and asking users to private message or follow him/her if they wanted to join the game. Fig. 14 shows the profile of this Twitter ...
Context 11
... who are depressed and ready to go to any extent to become a part of the game fall under this category. Such users often tend to reveal personal informa- tion like phone numbers, email addresses etc. so that curators can contact them. Fig. 15 shows a tweet where a user revealed his/her contact ...
Context 12
... who post about the challenge with the intention of promoting it fall under this category. In extremely rare cases, it is possible that these propagators might be curators but such an event is counter-intuitive as actual curators would not risk revealing their identity. Fig. 14 shows a Twitter account that claims to be a curator and asks users to private message or follow him/her to join the game. There have been cases where propagators or pretentious curators share the images of the 50 tasks (Fig. 1) along with the links to APK files -which are not related to the game -misleading the users into believing ...
Context 13
... might be curators but such an event is counter-intuitive as actual curators would not risk revealing their identity. Fig. 14 shows a Twitter account that claims to be a curator and asks users to private message or follow him/her to join the game. There have been cases where propagators or pretentious curators share the images of the 50 tasks (Fig. 1) along with the links to APK files -which are not related to the game -misleading the users into believing that an application for the game exists. Some propagators also tend to share images of victims as shown in Fig. 16(c). Fig. 16(a) shows a propagator who shared a WhatsApp group link. Such things often excite users to reveal their ...
Context 14
... him/her to join the game. There have been cases where propagators or pretentious curators share the images of the 50 tasks (Fig. 1) along with the links to APK files -which are not related to the game -misleading the users into believing that an application for the game exists. Some propagators also tend to share images of victims as shown in Fig. 16(c). Fig. 16(a) shows a propagator who shared a WhatsApp group link. Such things often excite users to reveal their personal ...
Context 15
... to join the game. There have been cases where propagators or pretentious curators share the images of the 50 tasks (Fig. 1) along with the links to APK files -which are not related to the game -misleading the users into believing that an application for the game exists. Some propagators also tend to share images of victims as shown in Fig. 16(c). Fig. 16(a) shows a propagator who shared a WhatsApp group link. Such things often excite users to reveal their personal ...
Context 16
... are users that use the Blue Whale challenge related hashtags in their posts just to seek attention and get some reactions to their posts. Fig. 17(b) shows how irrelevant hashtags are used in order to garner more views and attention for the post. These people contribute to the noise in the data collected. ...
Context 17
... shows a warning when people search for pictures related to the Blue Whale Challenge. It offers help to people who might be going through something difficult but at the same time gives an option to "see posts anyway" [15] as shown in Fig. 18(a). Along with the warning, Tumblr also lists counselling and anti- suicide resources as shown in Fig. 18(b). In order to stop the spread of the challenge, a committee of experts has been set up by the government of India. The government has also asked companies like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to remove all ...
Context 18
... shows a warning when people search for pictures related to the Blue Whale Challenge. It offers help to people who might be going through something difficult but at the same time gives an option to "see posts anyway" [15] as shown in Fig. 18(a). Along with the warning, Tumblr also lists counselling and anti- suicide resources as shown in Fig. 18(b). In order to stop the spread of the challenge, a committee of experts has been set up by the government of India. The government has also asked companies like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to remove all links related to Blue Whale Challenge [1]. The supreme court has additionally asked major Indian News ...

Citations

... Since then, an increasing number of suicidal cases (completed suicides and suicide attempts), in a growing number of countries, for example, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Italy, US, UK, India, Pakistan and China have been reported as connected to the BWC (Balhara et al., 2018;Khan et al., 2018;Mukhra et al., 2019;Ruiz-Villaverde et al., 2021). Although there are no official data of BWC-related youth suicide globally, one study managed to map the global situation by referring to various news resources (Khattar et al., 2018). In their calculation, BWC-related self-harm incidents were observed at least 18 countries with 170 cases. ...
Article
Full-text available
Since 2015, there have been numerous reports, mostly unsubstantiated, of teen suicides associated with an online contest – the Blue Whale Challenge (BWC) in Russia, Europe and India. Recently, reports emerged of possible BWC cases in China. 7 Cases were selected from Chinese media reports by online searching. Multiple sources of information (e.g., published reports, social media entries) were searched and examined for detailed information about cases, to collect information on pre-game situations, game activities, and post-game conditions. Thematic analysis was used to determine themes in BWC victim antecedents, behaviors, and consequences. Two of seven cases were female. Ages ranged 11-19 years (M = 15.57, SD = 2.94). Thematic analysis of the seven Chinese cases revealed a predisposition phase (low mood, interpersonal problems, poor school performance) followed by a five-stage process of BWC involvement: 1) contact with a death-oriented game (BWC); 2) acceptance of the game’s rules and the escalating challenges; 3) BWC incidents conclusion – a suicide attempt/completion; 4) discovery by others and/or game rejection, followed by 5) personal recovery. Analyses revealed interventions are required at each victim stage, and the necessity for increased online efforts. As most adolescent cases showed school problems (e.g., poor school performance, absenteeism), we recommend increased efforts at primary to tertiary schools to assess for and address personal difficulties of students demonstrating poor school performance. Results call for a new wave of revised suicide prevention methods led by digital natives but in collaboration with government, media and communities to address unique contemporary risks.
... Participants of the game in 2014 -2018 were reported to be mainly from the post-Soviet countries. The extant research literature on the issue shows that the 'Blue Whale' phenomenon extends itself on other countries such as India (Khattar, Dabas, & Gupta, 2018;Mukhra et al., 2019). At the same time, there was no correlation between the family welfare and adolescents' victim behavior (Blue Whale, 2019). ...
Conference Paper
Social media and messengers have become an integral part of young people’s lives. A person often falls under the influence of social media. A shared post has a considerable impact on its creator’s personality and relationship with others. Also, it can become the source of risk (hype, bullying). Open and accessible Internet services make young people and children vulnerable to information crimes. In view of this, social media presents an important field for risk-based research in education. The most outstanding and atrocious example of what cybercriminals are capable of is the suicide game ‘Blue Whale’. The research objective is to analyze the operating principles and mechanisms for the dissemination of destructive communities on social media websites drawing on the example of the community ‘Blue Whale’, popular in Russia and Poland in 2014-2017. Destructive communities on social media websites and personal accounts were analyzed with regard to data security. Media publications related to the activities of the ‘Blue Whale’ community from 2014 to 2017 were also studied. A key component in the analysis is the study of public opinion and the response of the education system to the activities of the ‘Blue Whale’ community. In one respect, the topic of ‘Blue Whale’ was viewed as a taboo. For a long time, society and the education system did not see the game as a threat. Thus, it quickly spread globally and led to tragic consequences. At the same time, social media websites were positioned as a networking place void of risks. This resulted in easily accessible information and low personal data protection level.
... 6 Along these lines, it is worth taking a closer look at the 50 challenges that are involved with the Blue Whale. An example list of Blue Whale Challenges directed to the players by the curators is reported by Khattar et al. (2018, p. 2) and Mukhra et al. (2019, pp. 286-287) Kumar et al. (2017) investigated the above-listed tasks for understanding how players shifted from 'just a game' to 'real-life' perceptions. ...
Chapter
Lately, the Blue Whale Challenge, which is also known as the Blue Whale Game, received public attention via the countless news about teenagers all around the world harming themselves as they engage with the so-called game (Balhara, Bhargava, Pakhre, & Bhati, 2018; Sousa, Filho, Cavalcanti, Santos, & Neto, 2017). Though referred to as a game, it involves a series of self-harming tasks (Narayan, Das, Das, & Bhandari, 2019), which spread via social media for completion in 50 days (Yılmaz & Candan, 2018). The final task reported as to commit suicide (Khattar, Dabas, Gupta, Chopra, & Kumaraguru, 2018; Volkova, Kadyrova, Rastorgueva, & Algavi, 2017). The victims of the challenge, being mostly teenagers and young adults, the significant concern rising from the families calls for the topic to treated as that of a severe public health issue (Kumar et al., 2017). To this date, the blue whale challenge is perhaps the only game that demands its user to end his/her life for completing the game (Mukhra, Baryah, Krishan, & Kanchan, 2019). This chapter aims to explore the collection of news that involved the often-deadly game user experiences. Contributions are in several folds starting from the game user experience field to the gamer psychology as well as public health policy development and text analysis of broad-casted news surrounding a critical public concern.
... Even though known as a game, it is reported to involve a series of self-harming tasks (Narayan, Das, Das, & Bhandari, 2019) that often propagate via social media for completion in 50 days (Yılmaz & Candan, 2018). Amongst these tasks, the latest final task one is indicated as to commit suicide (Khattar, Dabas, Gupta, Chopra, & Kumaraguru, 2018;Volkova, Kadyrova, Rastorgueva, & Algavi, 2017). Victims of the disseminated challenge are frequently the teenagers, and young adults; therefore, concerned families demand the topic to treated as that of a severe public health issue (Kumar A., 2017). ...
... Challenge is reported to have spread to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit as well as other social networks (Khattar et al., 2018). Philipp Budeikin, who was 21 years old when he got arrested in November 2016 with charges for inciting teenagers to suicide, is known as the creator of the Blue Whale Challenge told Russian media that "there are people, and then there Ozturkcan, S., "The Deadly Gamification Challenge of #BlueWhale," ArtsIT 2019 -8th EAI International Conference: ArtsIT, Interactivity & Game Creation, Nov 6-8, 2019, Aalborg, Denmark. ...
... In their analysis of social media data, Khattar et al. (2018) reveal the different types of users involved in the game, which are grouped as potential victims, propagators and/or pretentious curator, and hashtag hijackers. ...
Conference Paper
This manuscript reviews the past literature on the Blue Whale Challenge, which is known to be a deadly gamification activity that spreads on social media to target vulnerable teenagers. It aims to nurture workshop discussion for collaborative future research directions on the matter.
... Motivation -Previous studies have observed that the risk of committing suicide has increased among youth who participate in online forums related to suicidal discussions and are susceptible to the influence of portrayals of suicide in mass media [14]. Malicious psychological contagion effects have been reported that involves social media games and challenges to coerce vulnerable teenagers for participating in self-harming activities such as the 'Blue Whale Challenge' [19]. On reviewing recent literature on online suicide intervention and prevention, it was concluded that there is a lack of existing methods on online prevention strategies and there is a need to develop effective approaches in this domain [17]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Technological advancements have led to the creation of social media platforms like Twitter, where people have started voicing their views over rarely discussed and socially stigmatizing issues. Twitter, is increasingly being used for studying psycho-linguistic phenomenon spanning from expressions of adverse drug reactions, depressions, to suicidality. In this work we focus on identifying suicidal posts from Twitter. Towards this objective we take a multipronged approach and implement different neural network models such assequential models andgraph convolutional networks, that are trained on textual content shared in Twitter, the historical tweeting activity of the users and social network formed between different users posting about suicidality. We train a stacked ensemble of classifiers representing different aspects of suicidal tweeting activity, and achieve state-of-the-art results on a new manually annotated dataset developed by us, that contains textual as well as network information of suicidal tweets. We further investigate into the trained models and perform qualitative analysis showing how historical tweeting activity and rich information embedded in the homophily networks amongst users in Twitter, aids in accurately identifying tweets expressing suicidal intent.
... Indeed, the process involves using social networks to search for young people who fit specific profiles, which can include being depressed or showing addictive behavior. The list of tasks includes dynamics that introduce sleep deprivation, listening to psychedelic music, watching videos with disturbing contents sent by the curator, and inflicting wounds on one's body, among other tasks [20]. The tasks follow a prescribed set of steps that lead the victim into a disturbed mental state and susceptible to the influence of the curator, the victim is a target of a form of cyop that falls within a pattern that can easily be turned into an algorithm. ...
... According to data, reported in [20], Instagram ranks higher in posts than the Russian VK social network (which was where the game spread initially) and Twitter. On Twitter, the large majority number of posts related to the Blue Whale Challenge was identified by the authors as coming from smartphones with the Android OS, which shows how mobile devices are useful in feeding terror gamification operations. ...
Article
Full-text available
Children are among the social groups most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because they have found themselves forced to stay at home, far from their schoolmates, their friends, and far from all the activities they used to do before the pandemic. so, it was their only refuge for recreation during their stay in Home is staying in front of the screens of tablets, smartphones, and computers to play electronic games for long hours, and there is no doubt that the sudden shift in the lifestyle of children during the Covid-19 pandemic had serious consequences and risks threatening their stability at all levels. In light of that, the current study aimed to determine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on increasing the social, psychological, behavioral, and health risks of children's addiction to electronic games from a social work perspective. This study falls under the type of descriptive-analytical studies that are based on describing the reality of the problem under study. The study sample included 289 children in the age group 6 -17 years in the first grade to the twelfth grade at school. The researcher designed a questionnaire that reflects the four risks facing children to assess these risks. The results showed is that the value of all impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the increasing risks of children's addiction to electronic games came to a total weight of (27907), weighted relative weight of (80.47%). This indication is High, indicating that the level of impact is High for the Covid-19 pandemic on the increase in all types of risks of children's addiction to electronic games. It ranked first " Behavioral Risks " at 91.15%, It is followed by the ranked second “Social risks " at 85.5%, Then came third place " Psychological Risks" at 80.91%, and in finally in fourth place " Health Risks" at 64.28% , which necessitates the need to take a set of serious measures by educating parents to monitor the content of electronic games that their children play, especially violent games, in addition to, reduce the number of hours the child spends practicing these games, and to encourage parents to form a bridge of communication and constructive dialogue between them and their children, and that parents put controls and restrictions on their children's practice of electronic games to confront abnormal behavioral, psychological and social patterns such as aggression, violence, deception, lying, imitation, vigilance, physical stress, poor eyesight, distance from practicing religious rituals, academic delay, introversion, depression, intolerance, selfishness, sadness, isolation from society, social withdrawal and lack of forming social relationships and lack of communication with others. The researcher took care that the results of the current study are very accurate and representative of the reality of the research problem, in light of the researcher's emphasis on the commitment to observe ethical rules to ensure the confidentiality of data. finally, the current study will greatly benefit researchers interested in the field of childhood and its problems and they will rely on its results and recommendations in how to protect children from the dangers of electronic game addiction in light of the Covid-19 crisis in particular.
Chapter
As mobile devices and social media presence are becoming ever more integrated into daily lives, mobile games are also becoming increasingly more popular and replacing computer or handheld games. While mobile games provide convenient and timely entertainment, gaming apps also raise privacy concerns, especially when they are linked to users’ social media accounts. This connection between gaming apps and social media often allows the gaming apps to access users’ personal information. In this study we aim to address the privacy violations that may occur in this context. To conduct this study, twenty gaming apps from the Apple Store were selected and analyzed for the types of access and information exchange between social media and the gaming apps. In particular, it was alarming to learn that social media service providers were granting that access to the third-parties as well. Our analysis reveals that all twenty of the gaming apps collected users’ personal and sensitive information, while nine of the apps not only collected personal information but also were able to modify users’ information on their profile or timeline. Therefore, the goal of this study is to identify these potential privacy violations, raise gaming app users’ awareness of these privacy invasive practices, and propose initial recommendations for social media service providers and gaming app developers to provide better user privacy protections.
Chapter
Online death games are a fairly recent public health concern of the modern technology-driven world. Various dangerous online games like Blue WhaleMalhotra, Anshu ChallengeJindal, Rajni and MOMO challenge have grown popular through social networking sites where players or victims engage in self-harming activities, often leading to death. This problem domain has not been studied in depth till date and no known technology-based solutions exist to prevent the spread of such dangerous challenges. The prime objective of our research is to explore the use of deep learning and transfer learning techniques for content analysis of user-generated posts over various social networking sites and design an early warning system which can be used by healthcare authorities for timely identification of victims of these games so as to avoid any fatalities. In this paper, we first discuss in detail the numerous challenges in building required technology-driven solutions for this domain. Next we propose a multimodal deep learning-based system for identifying victims of online death games, using state-of-the-art feature generation techniques for two modalities in user’s social media posts: image and text. To the best of our knowledge, our proposed system is the first technology-driven public healthcare administration tool for this this domain.
Chapter
Mental healthcare services are insufficient under the current circumstances due to growing populations with mental health issues, the lack of enough mental health professionals, services, and programs that are needed. Traditional methods are often time consuming, expensive, and not timely. At the same time an increasingly number of people are using social media to interact with others and to share their personal stories and reflections. In this study we examined if online users’ social media activities were influenced by their mental well-being. To carry out this research we assessed Twitter activities between participants that reported high symptoms of depression and those with lower or no symptoms of depression. Our results confirm the influence in their activities in addition to interesting insights. We believe these findings can be beneficial to mental health care providers if users’ privacy is preserved.