12-year-old Egyptian schoolboy commits suicide to fulfill ‘Blue Whale’ challenge

Beheira city witnessed a state of fear and panic after a 12-year-old schoolboy committed suicide by taking poisonous tablets to fulfill one of the challenges of the deadly ‘Blue Whale’ game which has reportedly taken the lives of over 130 people around the world since 2013.

Beheira prosecutor Alaa Abdel Fattah received a notification of a young sixth-grade school student suffering from severe fatigue and phosphorus poisoning after taking an unknown toxic substance. The child was transferred to Enay Al-Baroud hospital.

Medical examination from physicians discovered a ‘tattoo’ depicting a whale engraved on the right arm of the student. Due to the student’s severe case he was moved to the poisons center in Gharbia governorate’s Tanta city to receive the necessary treatment, but he died immediately upon arrival.

The prosecution ordered the transferal of the schoolboy’s corpse to the forensics department to obtain speedy burial permission and to conduct final investigations regarding the tragic incident.

Meanwhile, Refay Taha – who is the student’s uncle – expressed his sorrow over the incident to Youm7 newspaper, saying that his nephew behaved well and was a good student. The boy was the eldest of his siblings.

Taha reported that his nephew displayed no psychological changes ahead of the incident, and highlighted that he did not own a phone, leading Taha to wonder how his nephew played the game.

The student’s suicide case is not the first of its kind in Egypt: the son of former MP Hamdy al-Fakhrany was found hung in his home on April 2, a suicide which had been linked to the deadly Blue Whale game. In January, a 32-year-old mentally-ill man killed his father to fulfill one of the challenges of the game.

Additionally, just days ago a teenage girl in Egypt’s Sohag reportedly set fire to her family’s house, killing her mother and one brother while injuring another brother, in what is believed to be yet another case of a teenager complying with the instructions of the Blue Whale game.

Also in April, a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Alexandria attempted to commit suicide with a toxic substance to fulfill a Blue Whale challenge.

Amid the increase of the game’s victims, Egypt’s Attorney-General Nabil Sadek ordered the blocking of the Blue Whale game. MP Sherif al-Wardani, who is also the secretary of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, submitted an urgent request calling upon the Minister of Communications and Information Technology to take action against the recent spread of “dangerous electronic games.”

Meanwhile, Egypt’s religious and governmental body Dar Al-Iftaa posted a YouTube video on their official page declaring the Blue Whale video game as forbidden in Islam by saying that it has many elements that make it religiously forbidden.

The Blue Whale, also known as ‘A Silent House’, ‘A Sea of Whales’, and ‘Wake me up at 4:20am’, was created by Russian Philipp Budeikin. It targets mainly ‘vulnerable’ teenagers by assigning them to do commit tasks set out by administrators over a 50-day period, with the final challenge asking the player to commit suicide.

The game begins with simple tasks before gradually asking the user to commit self-harm. At the end of the period, the user is asked to kill themselves or a member of their family.

Since the release of the app, hundreds of cases of suicide were reported across the world, all linked in some way to the game.

The game’s creator Budeikin was arrested in 2017, accused of inciting at least 16 schoolgirls to commit suicide by taking part in the game. The 21-year-old, who studied psychology, confessed to the crimes saying that he considers his victims as “biological waste” who were “happy to die,” and said that he was “cleansing society.”

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