Police in Russia are looking into a flurry of teenage suicide attempts amid panic that teens may have been manipulated by sinister social media groups, reports say.
Local media has cited findings that suggest such attempts are linked to a dark online phenomenon called “Blue Whale” — a game that allegedly asks teens to complete tasks that inflict self harm, like cutting themselves and carving symbols into their skin.
The tasks are said to lead to the final level on day 50, in which teens involved in the game are asked to kill themselves.
Reports surfaced of two school girls — Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova, 16, — who both were reported dead earlier this month after jumping from the roof of an apartment building to their deaths. The incidents prompted widespread fears as reports circulated that the pair was egged on by apparent game masters behind the emerging game craze.
The following week, reports came to light surrounding the death of a 15-year-old girl named Ekaterina — whose last name not released by local outlets — suffering critical injuries after jumping from the roof of a flat in Siberia, a providence in Russia.
Two days earlier, a 14-year-old girl from Chita was also reported to have lodged herself under a commuter train.
In each of the cases, investigators are probing possible links to the reportedly viral game — in which the highest level is believed to be suicide.
Konstantinova was said to have last posted the word “End” on her social media page, only to have previously posted an image of a blue whale, reports say.
Volkova, her friend, was also reported to have posted the note: “Sense is lost… End.”
The Russian Investigative Committee allegedly opened a probe on “incitement to suicide” concerning the pair’s death and its potential link to the controversial social media game.