The U.S. Justice Department has issued an alert to Parents, asking them to closely monitor their children’s online activities. This means parents should keep a close watch on their kids’ smartphones, computers, and their social media engagements.

A couple of weeks ago, a parent from Texas came forward claiming that his 15-year-old son committed suicide because he was threatened by an administrator of a social media game called, ‘The Blue Whale Challenge.’

The sinister game, which primarily targets teens and pre-teens on social media sites like Facebook or Snapchat, has claimed the lives of more than 130 children.

Here’s how the game is played

The group’s administrator, who usually remains anonymous, assigns a series of tasks to the participants of the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’. The tasks often involve self-abuse. For instance, the game’s administrator would ask the participants to slash their wrists or cut their lips. The participants would also be instructed to wake up at a specific time and watch a scary satanic video. If the participants don’t complete a task, they are either blackmailed or threatened. In some cases, the administrator warns the participant that his/her family members would be harmed.

Online trap to entice teens

In another incident, a 40-year-old man was sentenced on July 17 for trying to lure teens online.

In December, a covert operation run by the US intelligence and the justice department, unravelled a series of methods that perpetrators use online to entice children and young adults.

An undercover agent, posing himself to be a teenager, posted an ad on Craigslist website under the personals tab titled “nothing serious”. A 40-year-old man who identified himself as Tucker contacted the undercover agent (obviously, he wasn’t aware that he was dealing with a cop).

Tucker engaged in a series of flirtatious conversations through e-mail and text, and specifically asked the ‘teen’ to engage in a sexual activity with himself and another woman. Fortunately, Tucker was tracked down by the authorities. He now remains in federal custody.

“The defendant’s target in this case was in reality an undercover officer, but just as easily a young teenager could have fallen victim.

I urge every parent and adult entrusted with the care of minor children to monitor their online activities and to talk to them about reporting any improper online communications,” said U.S. Attorney John Kuhn, according to a press release issued by the DOJ.