The Blue Whale striking fear in the heart of Saudi Arabia

 

‘He was everything a parent could ask for in a child’:Abu Sa’ad Al-Ahmari with his 12-year-old son Abdul.
  • The death of a Saudi student is thought to be related to an online game linked to more than 130 fatalities worldwide
  • Psychologists have urged parents to keep a close eye on their children’s behavior, checking if there are any markings on their arms or legs, monitoring their sleep patterns, and speaking with school counsellors

JEDDAH: Times have changed since the introduction of the Internet in the 1990s: Now, more than ever, people are exposed to the world via a laptop or mobile screen.

But behind these screens lurk dangers — unknown and disturbing features of the Internet that can’t always be detected — and children are the most vulnerable.

For the past two years, the term “Blue Whale game” has been popping up increasingly on social media. The game can’t be found on app stores and is not commercially available.

Named after the beaching of blue whales, a natural phenomenon by which the great mammals end their lives, the game implies the same — a death to end the game.

The game made its first appearance in 2016 and has many other names as well: “A Sea of Whales”, “Wake Me Up at 4:20 a.m.” and “A Silent House.”

A former Russian psychology student, Philipp Budeikin, 21, was reported to have been expelled from university after claiming he invented the game to “cleanse society” and rid it of “biological waste.” In other words, prey on the weak and vulnerable, and those with low self-esteem, and push them to their deaths.

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