The notorious self-harm and suicide game, the “Blue Whale challenge”, has made its way to Pakistan with alarming stories coming on to surface through media reports. According to recent report, two female students from Jhelum district of northern Punjab found having injuries on their arms made with a sharp-edged tool.

A similar case reported earlier indicated two young men from Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa approaching a psychiatrist at Peshawar’s Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) for treatment after they suffered from depression while trying to complete the Blue Whale Challenge.

Blue Whale Challenge Hits Jhelum

Two female college students in Jhelum reportedly inflicted injuries on themselves after they started playing Blue Whale Challenge. The victims of the so-called challenge have been identified as Warda, a second-year student and Manahil, a first-year student of Government Girls Degree College Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum.

The principal of the college told media, “We have the parents of both girls and informed them about the situation. The girls have already been expelled from college to prevent other students from becoming involved in the game.”

Blue Whale Challenge Hits KPK

Earlier this month, three people were reported to have played the game in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Dr. Imran Khan, a psychiatrist at Peshawar’s Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) told media, “Two young men from Mardan between the ages of 19 and 21 have approached me for treatment after suffering from depression while trying to complete the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’.”

A similar case of a 16-year-old girl who claimed to have played the game almost to the last task – killing herself – was also reported at the same hospital of Peshawar.

What is Blue Whale Challenge?

The “Blue Whale Challenge” made headlines after a report claimed that at least 130 teenagers in Russia were prompted to take their own lives by closed social media groups.

The game, which is believed to be inspired from the blue whales who have been known to beach themselves on purpose, prey on vulnerable teenagers with low self-esteem. The victims are manipulated by group admin(s) or game curator(s) into a series of tasks over the course of 50 days.

In the beginning, the participants are given seemingly harmless tasks like watching horror movies, not speaking to anyone for a day or going out at 3am. This escalates into tasks such as self-harm and going without sleep. Ultimately on day 50, the game supervisor demands players to take their own lives.

The players are required to send videos and photos as proof that they have completed their tasks.

Advisory for Parents and Victims

Nighat Dad, a renowned social activist, has established the Cyber Harassment Helpline to provide guidance to parents and victims who come across any kind of cyber harassment, online bullying and abuse. Anyone facing cyber harassment or needs information about cyber security can call their helpline 0800-39393.

This is not just an advisory to the parents but it goes without saying that if you see anyone behaving differently, depressed or shows the signs of self-harm, don’t let it go unnoticed.