In Fairfax County schools, county agencies and families are working together to create an environment where children and youth can safely learn, work, and play. Similar to our message containing information about the 13 Reasons Why NETFLIX program, we are sending this communication to alert you to a recent rise in new games and social media challenges that encourage young people to participate in harmful behavior.
A potentially deadly game called the “Blue Whale Challenge” has reportedly been posted on different social media platforms and assigns players a series of progressively more intense tasks for 50 days. Participants are required to post photo proof that each task has been completed. To “win” the game the player must take his or her own life on the 50th day. Users are encouraged to tag each other on social media and then challenge others to participate in this dangerous game.
The game has been seen across Europe and in more recent months in the United States, targeting youth aged 10-14. Vigilant parents and guardians in Fairfax County have also reported seeing information about the Blue Whale Challenge or similar game on their children’s phones and have alerted school authorities.
Please talk to your child about this game, and check his or her phone or other device for signs of an app or communications with anyone telling them to do specific tasks.
If you have concerns about your child, please contact your school counselor. As vacation approaches, please be aware that a number of mental health resources will be available throughout the summer and include Fairfax County Public School resources: School Counseling Services at 571-423- 4420, School Psychology Services at 571-423-4250, and School Social Work Services at 571-423-4300 and Fairfax County resources: Crisis Link Hotline at 703-527-4077, Merrifield Emergency Services 703-573-5679 (available 24/7) or Entry and Referral during business hours at 703-383-8500. The Fairfax County Police Department non-emergency number is 703-691-2131.
More about the Blue Whale Challenge is available at this link: http://trustedk12.com/blue-whale-challenge/