Gardiner Regional Middle School

Parent/Guardian Alert - "Blue Whale Challenge"

Please take a moment and look over the following information we recently received from the Maine Department of Education regarding a concerning smart phone app known as "Blue Whale Challenge".

We have learned that there are a number of rumors circulating about a smart phone app called the Blue Whale Challenge. Stories indicate that the app is a social media challenge targeting 10-14 year olds. Rumors suggest that this app encourages at-risk, vulnerable teens to perform specific, and sometimes harmful tasks, assigned by an anonymous group administrator. Escalating over the course of a 50 day period, the tasks lure participants into sharing personal information, and as the game progresses that information is then used against the” players” in the form of threats if they choose to stop playing. On the last day of the challenge, the only way to win is to die by suicide.

It is the Department’s intent to make you aware of the rumor and to share the most current information related to this issue. We are aware of instances across the country where administrators and other sources have been sharing information on this issue, and we do know that some students in Maine are aware of the app.

Here is a recently published article about the Blue Whale Challenge, from Cyberbullying.org, that may provide some more helpful context around the app and specific rumors associated with it: http://cyberbullying.org.... Please take note of the last two paragraphs which contain information that supports the importance of awareness and prevention strategies:

Lego-Robotics Update

I just wanted to send you a quick update about the Gardiner Lego Robots competition this weekend. We had a great representation. We have a total of 17 kids in the program this season and 11 were able to come to competition.

We participated in 7 events and we got the GOLD Standard in 5 of them. We won a first place trophy in Bridge Building. Madeline Seed worked extremely hard on this and did amazing. It held over 80 pounds and it was the lightest bridge there.

We had 3 kiddos from the Middle School (Lance Morgan, Eric Fyfe and Patrick Mansir) worked on a table clearing robot where they had to knock 8 cans off from a round table. They completed the task in 18 seconds. This was the fastest in the competition. Unfortunately, the event wasn't only based on time and they had a mishap in their last of 3 tries at it, so they didn't get the award, but this was AMAZING. In fact, they cleared all 8 cans in almost half of the time that the team that "won" did. Either way, they got the gold standard!!!

I will be working on a flyer to send home about the fall Lego competition.

Thank you all for your ongoing support. We are looking forward to another great year!!!
Staci

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