A school has warned parents to be “vigilant” of the online ‘Momo challenge’.
The ‘challenge’ – dubbed a ‘suicide killer game’ by National Online Safety – is “a game played over WhatsApp where participants contact the character Momo and are then told to do a series of challenges, with the final challenge allegedly being suicide.”
The challenge is accompanied by a disturbing image of a girl with bulging eyes and a twisted smile.
The image is believed to be starting to pop-up in the middle of harmless, children-orientated YouTube programmes.
Northcott School in Hull, East Yorks., have today told parents they were aware of the image appearing during children’s programs.
In a tweet, they said: “IMPORTANT: we are aware that some nasty challenges (Momo challenge) are hacking into children’s programmes Challenges appear midway through Kids YouTube, Fortnight, Peppa pig to avoid detection by adults.
“Please be vigilant with your child using IT, images are very disturbing.”
Website Parent Zone said although a lot of the information about the challenge is “rather concerning” links to children harming themselves because of the game are “extremely low”.
On an article on their website, they said: “The Momo Challenge is a game played over WhatsApp where participants contact the character Momo and are then told to do a series of challenges, with the final challenge allegedly being suicide.”
In reply to if parents should be worried about the challenge, the site added “Although a lot of the information about the Momo Challenge is rather concerning, the number of reported cases of children harming themselves because of the game is extremely low.
“The challenge has alleged ties to three cases of teens killing themselves in Asia and South America, but there is nothing that proves that it was the direct cause.”
Derbyshire Police also tweeted to tell parents they “ought to be aware of the #MomoChallenge”.
The tweet read: “If you’re a parent of young children or teenagers, you ought to be aware of the #MomoChallenge, a game which allegedly encourages children to perform acts of self-harm via online messages received on Whatsapp and You Tube.”
National Online Safety have created a document for parents to help explain the “game” to their children.
Within the document, they said: “Just like any urban legend or horror story, the concept can be quite frightening and distressing for young people. Whilst this may seem obvious, it’s important for you to reiterate to your child that Momo is not a real person and cannot directly harm them!
“Also, tell your child to not go openly searching for this content online as it may only cause more distress.
“As a parent it is natural to feel worried about certain things you see online that may be harmful to your child.
“However, not everything you see online is true.
“Check the validity of the source and be mindful of what you share as it may only cause more worry.”
By Daniel Sheridan