Please be on the lookout for the Blue Whale online game.
The LeFlore Country Sheriff's office recently investigated the death of an 11 year old juvenile male in the Northern part of the county. The death was determined to be a suicide. Information was obtained through the investigation that the juvenile appeared to be participating in an online game commonly called "BLUE WHALE". The game originated in Russia and it targets vulnerable young persons and walks them through a 50 step scenario which when completed, culminates in the suicide of the person. Information gathered from the scene of this incident, together with information from the Medical Examiner and other interviews, has convinced us that this particular juvenile male was participating in this game. One factor which we believe led to this was bullying that had taken place in and out of school the previous school year. Additional interviews of school students revealed that a lot of them were familiar with this "BLUE WHALE" game. There have been deaths in the United States in Colorado, California and Virginia that have been linked to this game. The person playing the game is assigned an "Administrator" who leads the person through the steps and assigns them tasks to complete. Upon completion of these tasks the person is instructed to complete the final task, which is to kill themselves. This game is not the only factor leading to these tragedies. These juveniles already have underlying issues such as bullying, severe depression, substance abuse, family issues and others which led them to this game. Two years ago, a 14 year old juvenile male here in our county committed suicide as a direct result of depression and anxiety from bullying at his school. The LeFlore County Sheriff's Office provides bullying awareness and prevention classes to help combat some of these issues at our schools. We cannot stress enough to parents of kids, the importance of being closely involved in their lives so they may identify early on, problems their children may be having in and out of the school setting. Being able to pinpoint signs of depression, unusual/inappropriate behavior or possible substance abuse, can help get your child the professional help needed to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again. Parents also need to closely monitor their children's phone use and internet/online browsing to ensure that they are not on dangerous or inappropriate sites. Closely monitoring what your child is texting/messaging/browsing can also help you identify potential personal issues they may be experiencing and get them the help they need to resolve these issues. Unresolved issues can lead to kids finding dangerous sites such as this "BLUE WHALE" game, and turning these issues into a tragedy which could have been prevented with proper intervention. These terrible situations not only affect families for years to come, but affect all those who respond to the calls. It has a profound effect on Law Enforcement and EMS personnel. It affects entire communities and schools and is even more tragic because with attention and monitoring, most of these situations could have been prevented through intervention and professional help. Please help us to prevent the unnecessary death of our young people and the effects these tragedies have on all of us.