SOCIAL MEDIA DANGER – A message from the Superintendent of Schools

Dear Parents & Guardians:

I want to make families aware of a new social media app, which has recently come to my attention that could have serious implications.  The Blue Whale Challenge is an app that instructs its participants, many of whom are preteens, to carry out increasingly dangerous tasks and self-harm over a 50 day period.  Users are encouraged to tag friends on social media and “challenge” them to participate in the game.

As reported by USA Today, “Over the course of 50 days, an anonymous administrator assigns kids self-harm tasks.  The challenges may start by asking kids to watch a scary movie and then grow increasingly dangerous to include acts like cutting.  On the 50th day, the participant is supposed to commit suicide.  The game can reach kids through social media channels like Instagram, Snap Chat, You Tube, and texting.”

This is very concerning because these apps are targeting a very vulnerable population.  I would encourage parents to do the following;

*Ask your children if there are ANY new games or popular challenges that they or their friends are hearing about or playing on social media.

*Search for hashtags like #Blue Whale Challenge and/or photos of a blue whale on your child’s social media accounts.

This message is not meant to alarm anyone, but rather to encourage parents/guardians to be proactive in protecting their children from potential negative influences on the internet.

Sincerely,

Steven P. Lemanski
Superintendent of Schools