The dangerous challenge targets children by hiding in popular online games
Police in Ireland are urging parents to monitor their children’s online activity in the wake of the ‘Momo challenge.’
RTE reports that the ‘challenge’ is a form of cyberbullying that encourages young and vulnerable audiences to engage in dangerous activities, including self-harm.
The ‘challenge’ has been spotted by parents on social media platforms, WhatsApp, YouTube, and PlayStation and is being blamed for the death of a child in Buenos Aires.
The Belfast Telegraph reports: “The menacing-looking Momo character lurks behind apparently innocent-looking games in the hope that while a parent's attention is distracted it appears and challenges or dares the gamer into 'grotesque' acts of self-harm.”
One mother from Dublin told Dublin Live that after encountering the ‘Momo’ figure online, her young daughter is “afraid to be left alone anywhere, insists on being accompanied upstairs in the house, and having lights on and doors open when she goes to bed."
On Facebook, the Police Service of Northern Ireland posted a warning to parents that said: “Our advice as always, is to supervise the games your kids play and be extremely mindful of the videos they are watching on YouTube. Ensure that the devices they have access to are restricted to age-suitable content.”
**Suicide game targeting our kids** Some information on the latest "Momo" game which is doing the rounds at the moment...Publiée par Police Service of Northern Ireland sur Samedi 23 février 2019
CyberSafeIreland told RTE: "It is really important that parents are aware that while the internet brings great opportunities for fun, learning, and socialization, there are also risks that have to be managed, including access to harmful content or harmful contact.
"Parents should make informed decisions about their children's online use, keep a close eye on things, and have regular conversations about what's what their children are seeing and doing online."
DUP Councillor Dale Pankhurst told Belfast Live: “This game is grotesque. While I liaise with police to try and have this vile challenge blocked, I would encourage parents to check their children’s history online and have a talk with them about the serious dangers that are out there.
“Given the seriousness of this, it is up to law enforcement to ensure that if the individual behind it lives within the UK that they are put behind bars for a substantial period of time.”