*The memes in this article have been distorted on purpose. The aim of doing so is to limit the spread of such content*

Earlier this year, a shocking internet trend called the Blue Whale Challenge attracted international attention. The game involves participants sharing a series of instructions on how to harm themselves that end in suicide. It has been blamed for the deaths of several teens in Russia and the United States.

While it is believed the challenge started in Russia in 2016, media has reported that the challenge has since “spread” around the world. Up till recently, Pakistan had been safe from its spread, though neighbouring India has also caught up with the trend.


Philipp Budeikin- claims to have founded the challenge as a means of “cleansing society:”
Source: metro.co.uk


Pakistani youth have reacted to the Blue Whale Challenge in terms of moral panic and as with most situations, its spread is hidden from the masses. What is most disturbing is the use of the Blue Whale Challenge as a new source of comic relief. We fail to see that making and sharing of memes about the game is deeply problematic and dangerous. But self-appointed social media comedians have taken it upon themselves to make light of a grave situation that threatens to affect vulnerable youth across the globe.

Popular Pakistani Facebook pages such as Sarcasmistan, Just Pakistani Things and Pogo Productions have recently posted a tirade of derogatory and insensitive memes about the twisted game.



Take the following memes for example. The ‘artists’ deemed it appropriate to liken a human body to that of a blue whale.


By combining fat shaming with the Blue Whale Challenge, the makers of these memes could only be doing more harm to vulnerable young people. Fat shaming, as a form of bullying, already leads to self-harm among people. By making and sharing such memes, we are actually complacent in the spreading of the Blue Whale Challenge.

Politicians were also made the crux of these crude jokes.



It isn’t news that our political affiliations often bring out the worst in us. The Pakistani youth, in particular, finds no moral qualms in using politicians as the butt of their jokes. It is vexing that support for a particular political party manifests in the form of targeting opposition parties through such derogatory and vile humour. We should strive to criticise policies; not the appearance and morality of a politician. A politician’s public presence does not allow for an insensitive use of their pictures and videos.

As if photos were not enough, we also started spreading videos. The screenshot below is from a video that Pogo Production posted. Only the screenshot is purposely posted here to avoid further likes and hits for the insensitive distributors of the video.



The lack of empathy is obvious and the target audience is in a drunken stupor.

The question is: What do we do when our everyday normal lives are consumed by this senseless depravity? Case in point is the following advertising gimmick by an online food-related business:



Have you ever seen a more irresponsible ad? We are so quick in reprimanding cultural appropriation and immorality in western advertisements, such as Kendal Jenner’s Pepsi Commercial. But when will we start questioning our own content? If reasonable sources like this jump the bandwagon then such humour will only become the norm.

Does all this seem overly dramatic to you? If yes, then it is time to cut through the layer of thick skin we’ve developed that keeps us away from critical reflection. Social media warriors must take into account the possible impact of their actions. Fat shaming and mental health bashing are only a few examples of the kind of themes we cannot allow to be irresponsibly used in advertisements or memes.

Source: LinkedIn, Hena Jawaid


The Blue Whale Challenge continues to claim actual human lives. Making light of such a hazardous phenomenon takes away from the gravity of the situation.

Will it take one of our own Pakistani ‘brothers’ or ‘sisters’ for us to realize the danger inherent in the Blue Whale Challenge?






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