15-Year-Old Boy Live Streams His Suicide as Part of Dangerous Viral 'Blue Whale Challenge' That Targets Kids
Texas family says teen killed himself in macabre ‘Blue Whale’ online challenge that’s alarming schools
The family of 15-year-old Isaiah Gonzalez says he committed suicide on July 8 after participating in the online game "Blue Whale Challenge." (WOAI)
Fifteen-year-old Isaiah Gonzalez was a soon-to-be sophomore who just joined the ROTC program at his high school. But on Saturday, Gonzalez’s father, Jorge, stepped into his son’s bedroom in their San Antonio home.
Isaiah was dead, hanging from the closet, an apparent suicide. Next to his body was a cellphone propped up on a shoe, broadcasting the suicide, according to
Next to his body was a cellphone propped up on a shoe, broadcasting the suicide, according to KSAT.
If the teenager’s sudden suicide wasn’t tragic enough, the Gonzalez family quickly learned Isaiah’s end was possibly tied to a macabre online spectacle known as the Blue Whale Challenge.
Essentially a dangerous personal obstacle course of 50 daily tasks that include everything from watching horror films to self-mutilation, the game is rumored to be behind unexpected deaths across the globe. But because the challenge plays out on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, the reality is hard to prove. In fact, due to the extreme premise alone, some says it’s just an Internet hoax invented to frighten parents and other adults.
Isaiah Gonzalez’s family says their son was definitely involved in Blue Whale and was sending friends pictures of the completed tasks. “It talks about satanic stuff and stuff like that and my son was never into that,” Jorge told WOAI. “They blew it off like it was a joke and if one of them would have said something, one of them would have called us, he would have been alive,” his sister Scarlett Cantu-Gonzales said.
Isaiah’s story is not unique. CNN reported on Monday that a 16-year-old unidentified girl in Atlanta is believed to have recently taken her life while participating in the challenge. If true, the two cases appear to be the first deaths in United States linked to the Internet fad.
If alarm is its goal, it’s succeeding. Whether urban legend or reality, there is no doubt that parents, law enforcement, and school authorities are concerned about what appears to be one of the Web’s darker phenomena. Over the past few weeks, several school districts across the country have issued warnings to parents about the potential risks of the Blue Whale Challenge.