Blue Whale and Momo, two frightening online challenges blamed for driving children to suicide are "cyberattacks," Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk told reporters yesterday.
The Blue Whale game also known as the Blue Whale Challenge consists of several missions that instruct players to inflict injuries on themselves and a final mission that instructs them how to take their own life. It consists of postings on online forums frequented by children as young as 12, and though its origin is unknown, it is blamed for a string of children's suicides in recent years. Momo, using the scary image of a doll created by a Japanese artist, follows a similar path, giving instructions to impressionable children to harm themselves.
Selçuk said his ministry was "working" on how to tackle the issue and would "share details with the public." "Blue Whale or Momo are not online games. They are cyberattacks targeting youth and children and are perpetrated by some people and institutions," he said, without giving any name. "These people exploit children's liking for games and seek to degenerate society by harming children," the minister said, adding that parents should be more attentive to their children, especially when it comes to problems children might face in their private lives and guide them to seek help from psychiatry experts.
The online challenges came to the spotlight after the suicide of a 14-year-old girl in the eastern city of Van earlier this month, linked to Blue Whale. Her five friends were also given psychiatric counseling when authorities found out they also followed the challenge. The girl who jumped to her death from a cliff, had "f57" scratched with a razor on her arm, media reports said. "f57" is the original name given to the Blue Whale challenge by Philipp Budeikin, Russian creator of the challenge who was arrested in 2016 and sentenced for inciting teenagers to suicide through the challenge.
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