News Source: Express Tribune
Originally published Date: September 29, 2017
JHELUM: The notorious self-harm and suicide game, the “Blue Whale challenge”, has made its way in Punjab, as two female college students in Jhelum reportedly inflicted injuries on themselves after they started playing it.
The two students of Government Girls Degree College Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum had injuries on their arms that looked that they had been made with a sharp-edged tool, Express News reported.
The victims of the so-called challenge have been identified as Warda, a second-year student and Manahil, a first-year student.
The principal of the college told Express News that the administration contacted the parents of both girls and informed them about the situation.
The girls were also expelled from college to prevent other students from becoming involved in the game, the principal said.
Earlier this month, three people were reported to have played the game in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
A psychiatrist at Peshawar’s Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) told The Express Tribune that two young men from Mardan between the ages of 19 and 21 had approached him 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 KTH.
The “Blue Whale Challenge” made headlines after a report claimed that at least 130 teenagers in Russia were instigated 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.
Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.