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RIO-DE-JANEIRO, April 28. /TASS/. The police of Ecuador urged teenagers and their parents to be cautious about the Blue Whale suicide challenge as the deadly game, believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 15 teenagers in Russia, continues to spread around the world.
"Don’t jump at the bait. Your life is not a game," Ecuadorean police said via its official Twitter account. "Parents should detect and report any online game that promotes suicide."
The country’s Interior Ministry tasked law-enforcement bodies with investigating the scope of the deadly challenge, in which children and teenagers are told to complete self-harm tasks and eventually "win" by committing suicide.
Teenagers are contacted by the so-called masters of the game either via a private message or when they join the "groups of death" on social networks. For 50 days, they are encouraged to complete a series of tasks, ranging from giving a hug to parents to cutting themselves. On the last day, they are told to commit suicide.
So far, Ecuadorean authorities reported no suicides related to the challenge, which has been spreading across the South American continent.
According to Ecuador’s El Comercio newspaper, teenage suicides reportedly linked to the "Blue Whale" are being investigated in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia.
On April 14, Brazilian media reported that the role of the "Blue Whale" challenge and "groups of death" was being investigated after circumstances surrounding several cases of teenage suicide and self-harm pointed at the deadly challenge. In the first of such cases, a note with the game’s rules was found among personal items of a 16-year-old girl, who committed suicide.
The game first emerged on social networks in Russia, where at least eight online communities promoting suicide have been created between December 2013 and May 2016. According to the Russian Investigative Committee, the "Blue Whale" is responsible for the deaths of at least 15 teenagers from various Russian regions. Five more were rescued or failed to complete the challenge.