(WXYZ) - Remember this name: The Blue Whale Challenge. It is a new, very real threat to the safety of your family, teens and young adults.
Parents are being told to be on the lookout for specific warning signs. We've posted the list below.
So far, at least two teens have gone through the “challenge” and for them, it ended in suicide.
The challenge reaches vulnerable people through social media. It apparently started in Russia two years ago. The warning is out now in the United States.
Just a week and a half ago, Isaiah Gonzalez hanged himself in his bedroom in San Antonio, Texas.
He propped up his cell phone in a shoe and broadcast his death on Facebook Live. After his death, his family discovered telltale signs of the Blue Whale Challenge.
He had been listening to strange music and even drank some bleach. He also posted picture proof of those actions on social media.
His family says no one told them.
“They just laughed about it and blew it off as if it was a joke. If one of them would have called us, he would have been alive,” said Scarlett Cantu-Gonzelez, his sister.
“Unlike other challenges, this one is a sinister one,” says Miami Police in an informational video.
The name Blue Whale comes from whales who beach themselves and die.
Gigi Colombini is a psychotherapist who has been working for two decades to prevent teen suicide in Metro Detroit.
She tells 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner, “Many times they are isolated and their social life is on social media. It is really easy. This is the way kids communicate everything now. What might seem like fun or a challenge or a dare, not thinking things through is classic teenage stuff.”
She and others urge parents to ask questions and even look into their teens’ cell phones and use of social media. The Oakland County Health Department and Youth Suicide Prevention have issued materials to help families.