The recent suicide of a Texas teenage boy who participated in a dangerous social media campaign, called Blue Whale Challenge, has police sending a warning to parents.
Miami Police issued a video in May encouraging teens to not fall from the challenge, which encourages kids to complete 50 tasks, with each subsequent challenge proving more dangerous. The final challenge is to commit suicide, according to the Miami Police video.
Participants search for a game administrator, who issues the challenges, on social media sites or can be recruited in hidden or secret groups on Facebook and Reddit. A photo or video of the challenge is taken to prove it was completed.
When users agree to participate, the administrator receives personal information that could be used to expose them if they want to end the challenge, according to the video.
Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, committed suicide Saturday in San Antonio after his family said he participated in the challenge.
“We’d never heard about it until my dad brought it up at dinner,” Alexis Gonzalez, Isaiah’s sister, said. “It wasn’t his time to go. He was way too young. He had his whole life ahead of him.”
Family members described Isaiah as happy and kindhearted, and he recently joined the ROTC program.
Now, his father is urging parents to monitor their kids’ social media accounts.
“Look at it because you can catch it,” Isaiah’s dad, Jorge Gonzalez, said.