Schools around the US have warned parents to be on the lookout for an app that leads to suicide.
Who Is It Targeting: Young mobile device users
What Is It: An app that requires the user to follow through with admin’s “instructions”
What Are They After: Right off the bat, the creator of this app has been arrested in connection with multiple suicides by young people around the globe. The app has been deleted by the Apple App Store and Google Play store following the ties to young people committing acts of self-harm.
According to widely circulated internet rumors, Blue Whale was an app that required the player to follow a series of instructions from the game’s administrators. Things started off innocuously, with silly, fun tasks. Before long, the game would get serious, requiring the player to harm an animal and post a video, cut themselves, and even jump off of rooftops with the intention of killing themselves.
Even worse, the app itself was designed to root around in the user’s device and steal photos and messages, which the admins allegedly used for extortion. However, there is now just as much insane “urban legend” surrounding the app as there is truth, but authorities believe there is a direct correlation between widely publicized events and an uptick in copycat behaviors.
How Can You Avoid It:
- Talk to your kids about the kinds of apps they download.
- Establish rules about downloading apps or registering for accounts without your permission.
- Make sure your kids know what internet behaviors are safe and unsafe before letting them online.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Snopes.com.