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Egyptian Teen’s Suicide Linked to Internet Challenge, Sparks MP’s Call to Ban Electronic Games

Following the death of a former MP's teenage son, secretary of parliament's human rights committee requests a ban on electronic games.

Staff Writer

Egyptian Teen’s Suicide Linked to Internet Challenge, Sparks MP’s Call to Ban Electronic Games

Secretary of parliament's human rights committee and member of parliament, Sherif Al-Wardani, is urging the Minister of Communications and Information Technology to ban electronic games deemed dangerous, reported Egypt Independent on Thursday.

Pushing for a law to ban such electronic games, Wardani says: “Recently there have been a lot of game apps that penetrate users’ data, that are also encouraging them to hurt themselves and hurt others.”  Wardani, who is adamant in spreading awareness, emphasizes the importance of fighting cyber crimes and apps that may lead to self harm. 

This comes following the death of former MP Hamdy al-Fakharany’s teenage son which was believed to be a result of the game known as ‘Blue Whale’. Khalid Al-Fakharany, son of the former MP, was found dead in his room with a set of notes allegedly written by the teen himself. His siblings blame the game “Blue Whale’ which they refer to as the cause for their brother’s death.

"After my brother’s death, people everywhere started to talk about an internet game called 'The Blue Whale', which targets vulnerable teenagers' said Khalid's sister, Abeer El-Fakharany. 

'Blue Whale' - which first appeared in Russia - is an internet challenge that requires its players to complete tasks over a period of 50 days, with the final task being suicide.

El-Fakhrany goes on to say: “At first I couldn’t believe that such a game exists, but after some research, I found the game available on the internet. My brother was a very devout and religiously dedicated guy, I am really in shock."

The internet game - also known as 'A Silent House', 'A Sea of Whales' and 'Wake me up at 4:20am - was created by Russian national, Philipp Budeikin. The creator - who was sentenced in August 2017 on charges of inciting children to commit suicide - told police that his victims were 'biological waste' and that he was 'cleansing' society by ridding it of them. 

This is not the first death to come as a result of the internet game, with a 32-year old mentally-ill Egyptian murdering his father as part of the tasks to be fulfilled for the day. 

'Blue Whale' is not a mobile app nor does it have a specific website, and as such has been found harder to combat. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to reach out to Egypt's Mental Care hotline on 08008880700.