What is it?
- Method of extreme Cyberbullying that targets vulnerable youth to perform self-harm over 50 days and encourages suicide. It is not a game.
- Blue Whale challenges youth to tag others to “play” using social media. Once the Blue Whale app is downloaded, it hacks into their personal information and cannot be removed.
- The app uses threatening messages related to the teen’s personal information or family safety to bully them into self-harm behaviors.
Advice for parents/guardians and teens
- Monitor your children’s use of electronic devices and computers. Know what types of websites they’re visiting, and what apps they’re attempting to access and are using. Talk with them about what they’re doing on their devices. Regularly review their browsing and search histories.
- Provide guidance to your children/teens on what to do if someone challenges them to use the app, or if they know of someone using the app. Encourage them to tell a trusted adult who can then help address the problem, report it to authorities, connect at risk youth to help, and address the infected device.
- Know the warning signs of mental distress. Changes in behavior. Physical or verbal expressions of hopelessness, sadness, extreme boredom, depression, and/or anxiety. Displays overwhelming pain or distress. Talks about, writes about or makes plans about committing suicide. Experiences stressful situations including a loss, change, personal humiliation, trouble at school or with the law, etc.
- Know what to do. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency when someone makes an immediate threat to hurt or kill themselves, and restrict their access to anything they may use to harm themselves. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 2-1-1 in CT, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or a mental health professional if someone shows warning signs, but is not in immediate danger.
- Parent Guides on Cybersafety
- Prevent Cyberbullying
- A Parent’s Guide to Cyberbulling
- What Parents Need to Know About Self-Injury
- Prevent Suicide CT
An urgent message from the CT Suicide Advisory Board (CTSAB):
The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why”, based on a popular novel of the same name, was released on March 31 and has been much talked about, particularly among school-aged youth. The fictional story is a cautionary tale of a young girl’s suicide, and covers other sensitive subject matters as the series progresses such as sexual abuse, rape, substance abuse, mental health, and bullying. The show sensationalizes suicide, focuses on reasons to die vs. reasons to live, and blames survivors, all of which can easily trigger at risk individuals.
Due to the popularity and the subject matter of the series, many national and state organizations have created resources to assist adults in talking with individuals at risk, especially youth, about suicide as it relates to the situational drama that unfolds in the TV series and in general. The CTSAB is providing the information below to assist you in conversations with others about these very serious and sensitive topics.
- Preview the series prior to permitting youth to view.
- If you consider the series suitable for youth, watch the series with them.
- Watch the series companion piece “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons” on Netflix for a discussion by cast, producers, and mental health professionals about the series.
- Create a safe, judgment-free zone when talking about the series and the subject matter.
- Discuss Reasons to Live, and how to stay safe. Who are trusted adults to talk with, and where/how to access help.
- Get help– In CT call 211 or 1(800)273-TALK (8255) the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In an emergency call 911.