Earlier this week, an 11-year-old boy ended his life by jumping off his balcony in Naples, Italy. A later investigation linked the boy’s death to a rising online suicide challenge which allegedly targets kids. The online game, known as the “Jonathan Galindo Challenge,” asks participants to follow a series of horror-themed tasks.
Before jumping off to his death at around 1 a.m., the boy left a message to his parents. In a note on his tablet, the boy asked for his parents’ forgiveness while referencing to a ‘man in the black hood,’ which authorities believed is the online character Jonathan Galindo.
Disturbing game targets kids on social media
“I love you mom and dad. Now I have to follow the man in the black hood. I have no more time. Forgive me,” reported News.com.au.
The character targets kids on social media by messaging them and inviting them to play a series of tasks. At first, the tasks start out with harmless dares, such as “watch a scary film” or “wake up in the middle of the night.”
However, as the participant progressed into the game, the tasks get increasingly disturbing and downright dangerous. According to New York Post, there were instances when players were asked to harm themselves or to stand on the edge of a tall building.
The challenge ultimately ends when the player completes the final task, which is to end his own life.
This is similar to the Blue Whale challenge that swept social media in 2018, which is believed to have originated from Russia. This notorious challenge was linked to 130 suicides all over the globe, according to Forbes.
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The ‘creepy face’ behind the game
More disturbing is the character’s face, which is a cross between a human and a dog. After the Jonathan Galindo challenge became viral, the artist behind the image resurfaced. Cinematographic special effects producer Samuel Canini claimed that he made the ‘mask’ way back in 2012.
On Twitter, Canini clarified that he is in no way involved with the disturbing challenge, citing that he only made the mask for his ‘own weird amusement.’
“This Jonathan Galindo madness seems to be terrorizing a great many young impressionable people. The photos and videos are mine from 2012-2013. They were for my own weird amusement then, not for some modern day thrillseeker looking to scare and bully people.”
Authorities are urging parents all over the world to be more vigilant of their child’s activities on social media.
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