WHO and OECD: Develop Strategies to Stamp Out Sadistic Online 'Suicide Communities'
Suicide is a terrible scourge for those suffering from depression, and a terrible tragedy for any family who must cope with the loss of one of its members.
And, it is especially hard on young people. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds.
That is truly a tragic statistic!
And, today, to make matters worse, there are twisted and sadistic individuals who actually encourage young people to commit suicide in so-called online "suicide communities". These "suicide communities" prey on vulnerable young people, who are seeking attention from their peers and from adults, encouraging them to complete a series of "dares" or "tasks", which can ultimately demand self-destruction as the final dare/task.
These "communities" have spread from Russia, westward, now causing anxious police and school authorities to issue warnings in places like Romania and the UK.
Known by the moniker "Blue Whale", these online communities also encourage self-harm as a way of "winning" the game, or completing their series of dares.
Radio Free Europe infiltrated one such "Blue Whale" group, and here is a sample of the dialogue between their reporter (pretending to be a young teen) and one of the organisers of the ghoulish group (please see the full story in the links below):
Radio Free Europe Reporter (RFER): "I want to play the game."
Blue Whale Organiser (BWO): "Are you sure? There is no way back."
RFER: "Yes...What does that mean -- no way back?"
BWO: "You can't leave the game once you begin."
RFER: "I'm ready."
BWO, explaining the "rules": "You carry out each task diligently, and no one must know about it. When you finish a task, you send me a photo. And at the end of the game, you die. Are you ready?"
RFER: "And if I want to get out?"
BWO: "I have all your information. They will come after you."
The first task assigned to the RFER was a demand to mutilate her arm. At that point, the conversation ended. But, in other similar investigations, the Blue Whale organiser actually says that one wins "by dying."
Now, there is some dispute as to the extent of the problem, with some saying that up to 2 million teens have been exposed to the Blue Whale phenomenon, while others say that the figure is far fewer. There is also a dispute as to the results of such exposure, with some saying that there is no direct link to teen suicide from these groups, while others accuse these groups of significantly raising the suicide rate in certain regions, year-to-date.
But, there is some substantial evidence that this is, indeed, a real problem: In Russia, public prosecutors have detained at least 6 people on suspicion of operating such groups. And, the Duma (Russia's Parliament) has discussed imposing sanctions for "inciting suicide".
In any case, suicide is never an abstraction...is never just an idea. It always results in death, loss and pain. Therefore, children, teens and society, itself, ought to be protected from its ravages. And so, those who encourage others to commit suicide ought also to be punished, and, to the extent possible, prevented from promoting such morbid "games".
This petition, which is directed to the WHO and the OECD, calls on these international institutions to develop and propose new strategies to combat these so-called online "suicide communities". One suggestion is to develop a system whereby state governments can work with internet service providers to see that such content is swiftly removed from websites, with a system of fines being used as an enforcement mechanism. Another suggestion, as above, comes from the proposal in the Duma, to criminalise "incitement to suicide".
These kind of sadistic "dare games" must be stopped. Such vulnerability must not be exploited by sick and cowardly individuals who are lurking in the dark corners of cyberspace.
Thank you for signing this petition!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Fact sheet on suicide produced by the WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs398/en/
OECD Report on Teen Suicide (Updated, 2015): https://www.oecd.org/els/family/CO_4_4_Teenage-Suicide.pdf
If you feeling suicidal now, please contact the following: (In the UK and Ireland, or in Europe): http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us
In the US, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Sign this petition now!
Teens must be protected from sadistic online predators who operate suicide/self-harm communities