15-year-old Isaiah Gonzalez had his whole life ahead of him. He was entering his sophomore year in high school and had recently enrolled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps program.
His parents, Angela and Jorge, told News 4 in San Antonio, Texas, that they were devastated when they learned their son had committed suicide.
KSAT in San Antonio reports that Jorge found the young boy hanging in his closet on July 8. Isaiah’s mobile phone was found propped up on a nearby shoe and recording. After looking on Isaiah’s phone his parents believe he killed himself as part of an online challenge known as the “Blue Whale Challenge.”GoFundMe
According to the Dallas Morning News, the Blue Whale Challenge is apparently an online daring game where an administrator gives subscribers a list of 50 challenges. The tasks can include simple tasks such as watching a movie, but can escalate to suicide.
There are many unconfirmed details about the game, including where it can be found. Some websites believe the challenge lives mainly on social media sites where teenagers tag each other to the challenge.
Independent Journal Review previously reported in May that a there was a mobile app called Blue Whale that was removed from the App Store and Google Play.
At the time, the Baldwin County Public Schools in Alabama was warning parents that the app’s administrators would steal the user’s information and threaten to kill family members until the person committed suicide:
PARENT ALERT! This has been brought to our attention. When concerns are sent to us, we pass them along as an FYI – For…
It has been rumored that the game is simply a hoax to scare parents, but many local authorities are taking the threat seriously and are encouraging parents to keep an eye on mobile phone and social media usage.
Jorge was the first person to learn about the challenge in his family. The dad brought it up at dinner one day, but he never thought his son would try it himself.
District Communication to Parents/Guardians of Parkrose Students regarding “The Blue Whale Challenge”http://www.sprc.org/
Now he’s urging other parents to check their children’s phones. He told News 4:
“Look at [your kids’ phones] because you can catch it.”
According to KSAT, Isaiah’s family found pictures on his phone of him completing tasks and sending them to his friends. The San Antonio Police Department told KSAT this was the first time they had ever heard of the challenge. Yet, earlier this week a 16-year-old girl also died in a similar suicide incident.
As his family prepares for Isaiah’s funeral this week, the family hopes to remember the life of the son they lost and raise awareness to protect many more lives.
Watch the video below released by the Miami Police Department:
In this Social Media 101 installment, we address a new sinister game or challenge that is starting to trend on social media and our schools. This challenge encourages young teens to commit suicide. Please watch the video and share with all your friends and family.
Posted by Miami Police Department on Friday, May 19, 2017