ATLANTA (CNN) — One family claims that an online game, called “Blue Whale” led a 16-year-old girl to commit suicide.
The game reportedly incites players to take their own lives. However, it’s still not clear if the game really exists or not.
“A funny girl. Like to make silly faces, or, how we say, the puppy face when she wants something,” her mom said.
Her family wants to share the teen’s story, but asked CNN to conceal her identity.
She was a talented artist, talented enough to hide secrets in her paintings.
“So these were paintings that she drew that were displayed at an art show at school,” her brother said. “At first look, you don’t think anything of it, you just think of an abstract painting.”
But there were clues that even her brother didn’t see.
Not until the teen girl took her own life.
“If you were to Google ‘what a skeleton of a blue whale looks like,’ it has a tremendous resemblance.”
Blue Whale is described as an online suicide game.
The game reportedly started in Russia two years ago and has been linked to teen suicides all over the world.
The thing is, it’s not clear if the game actually exists, or whether it’s an Internet rumor that caught the attention of vulnerable children and teens.
Through a 50-day challenge, players are supposedly given 50 daily tasks by an anonymous administrator and must submit photo evidence each day to prove each task is complete
On the last day, those who play are told to commit suicide.
Last month, the Baldwin County Public School System in Georgia issued a warning to parents the a game that encourages players to harm themselves and potentially commit suicide.
The “Blue Whale” game has reached two high schools in Baldwin County, though officials wouldn’t confirm which ones.
“I start researching and start reading more about the game, what it’s asking. Then I start to put some of the pieces — how during the weekend she asked me to step on the roof of the house,” the girl’s mother said.
“I realized one of the pictures is from our roof, and it’s something that the game asked,” the mom added.
Originally from Bulgaria, the family has been in the U.S. for 15 years, unaware of any communication the teenager had outside of the country, if any.
“I am a whale. This is basically saying goodbye and this is basically saying goodbye as well. With the Blue Whale,” her brother said looking at drawings the girl did.
“This is in Russian, it’s not in Bulgarian, yes,” the brother added.
The brother said the family didn’t know if the girl knew Russian.
While authorities aren’t clear if the so-called “game” is real, it’s caught their attention.
Warnings about blue whale circulate in parts the country.
“It’s a real thing. I lost my sister to it, or at least part of it. I would say by the looks of everything we found it’s a major part of it,” the brother said.
“And there needs to be awareness, people need to know, parents need to know, to look for signs, to monitor their kids a little better. And try to know and understand who they’re talking to and when,” the girl’s brother said.
Mental health experts say it’s critical for parents and children to be aware of the internet’s impact when it comes to teen suicide.
“There’s a lot of good information out there to help kids think through what’s fiction, what’s not fiction,” said Dr. Jane Pearson of the National Institute of Mental Health.
“You can imagine another trend might come up at any time, so instead of trying to catch every trend, a better approach might be to improve social media literacy. To help kids understand how to manage it,” Pearson said.
As law enforcement investigates the circumstances of the suicide, the family continues to search for evidence hoping their tragedy will prevent others from falling prey to Blue Whale.
She was “happy. And as my little sister that I love, and I miss,” her brother said.
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