Safeguarding Alert: ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’ and Netflix Production ’13 Reasons Why’
Children’s Services have suggested I write to you to draw your attention to both a dangerous online game called The Blue Whale Challenge (online app) and a new Netflix Production ‘13 Reasons Why’ to raise awareness and as a protective measure for our children and young people. The information contained in this letter is disturbing, but we believe it is important to alert you to the seriousness of this issue.
The Blue Whale Challenge is an internet based game that has resulted in many deaths in many countries. The Challenge is believed to be spreading across Europe with an increasing number of incidents of self-harm and suicide reported.
The administrator/curator of The Challenge targets children and vulnerable adults and gives them 50 challenges to complete over a period of weeks culminating in suicide (challenge number 50).
The majority of the challenges involve self-harm followed by sending a picture to the curator as proof. A tell-tale sign is challenge number 11: “carve a whale on your hand with a razor and send a photo to the curator”
Other examples of challenges that children and young people are urged to follow:
In addition, a new Netflix production called ‘13 Reasons Why’ has also been reported to glamorise self-harm and suicide, and parents should be warned about the potentially harmful effects.
You should talk to your child/ren if you are concerned about them or notice a change in their behavior. We would encourage you to inform the school of your concerns.
You can also seek additional support from the NSPCC on 0808 808 5002 to provide help on how to keep children safe online. Please report abuse of children to CEOP (www.ceop.police.uk/Ceop-Report).
If you have safeguarding concerns you can seek advice from Ealing Children’s Services by contacting Ealing Children’s Integrated Response Service (ECIRS) on 0208 825 8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, if you feel your child is at immediate risk please dial 999 and ask for the appropriate emergency services.