POLICE have issued a chilling warning to parents to protect their kids from a sick online game.
Momo is a disturbing ‘challenge’ game targeting young people via WhatAapp and other social media and encouraging them to hurt or kill themselves or else they will be cursed.
Central European News Authorities have issued a warning about online ‘game’ called Momo
The game is being touted as the next Blue Whale – a dangerous social media game linked to at least 130 teen deaths across Russia.
And it’s similar to the Doki Doki Literature Club game also linked to teen deaths.
Momo begins with an anonymous person – hiding behind a haunting avatar – sending violent images to the victim over a messaging app. Momo then gives orders, and threatens the receiver if they don’t follow them.
The face of Momo is a grotesque-looking woman with distorted features taken from the work of Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, who is not associated with the game.
On Sunday Ireland’s Gardai for Laois/Offaly issued a warning urging parents to supervise their kids’ online activity carefully to avoid “devastating consequences” – and the warning applies to all.
A spokesperson said: “There is a “game” doing the rounds on social media platforms at the minute called “momo” which appears to target children or vulnerable people.
“The momo challenge is a form of cyberbullying where momo asks to be contacted through a social media site and then asks the person to perform a series of dangerous tasks including self-harm.”
Corbis The game has sends violent or threatening messages and is targeting children
And they added this warning: “Please, please, please always supervise your children or those that are vulnerable while online.
“As parents, it’s all too easy sometimes to hand over a device to a child for that few minutes peace but there can be devastating consequences if they are left un-supervised.”
The PSNI also recently issued a warning urging parents to supervise the games their kids play and to be extremely mindful of the videos they are watching on YouTube.
A spokesperson urged parents to “ensure that the devices they have access to are restricted to age suitable content”.
Cybersecurity expert Urban Schrott said this is not the first dangerous ‘challenge’ game doing the rounds online, and it won’t be the last.
Cybersecurity expert Urban Schrott
He said: “For parents, mobile devices and computers have become a free nanny. Instead of having someone to mind the kids, they give them a device and the device entertains them for hours.
“However, parents then forget it’s not only fun and games online. There is crime online, there is pornography online, there is violence online, there is bullying online, there are trolls online, there are all kinds of things on there.
“Unless kids are properly prepared for all this, unless they have guidance, unless parents know there are things going on out there that they can warn kids about, then bad things can happen.
“Kids say, ‘okay I’ll just download this game’, but then once they are in their room on their device they do all kinds of things and parents don’t even know, then worse things can happen.”
Please, please, please always supervise your children or those that are vulnerable while online.
However, he warned: “Spying on what kids are doing is never recommended, it will just make them more careful. So next time they will just hide their activities better. If parents go behind their backs and check their computers then confront them, next time they’ll take better precautions.
“What could work is more parental involvement, more knowing about these issues and explaining them, just like in real life when parents have to explain to kids the dangers of drugs or drinking or other dangerous activities.”How to keep your kids safe online – stage by stage.
UP TO 10 YEARS OLD
Accompany them during their first experiences on the web.
Make sure you are there when your little ones take the first steps. The first contact a child has with the internet is a good opportunity to sit down and guide him or her in their new adventure.
Set the conditions for the use of the internet.
Set basic rules for using the internet. A good practice is to supervise the number of hours spent online and also to set times in which the use of web is allowed. Be a good example.
Children usually take their parents’ behaviour as an example, this rule applying equally online as well as in real life. If the members of the family have a positive behaviour, this will immediately pass on to the child.
11 TO 14 YEAR OLDSUse parental control toolsTake advantage of the existing technology and use it in your favour.
ESET Parental Control tools make it possible to block sites or even categories of pages that contain potentially offensive material, allow you to set time limits for internet surfing or game play.
At the same time it allows your kid to ask you for permission to visit certain pages or have more play time, if their homework is done.
Teach them not to share information that might identify themIt is important to make it very clear to kids that in the virtual world, not every person is a friend, and that some people may even want to hurt them.
Explain why it isn’t safe to share information such as: address, telephone, schools or after school activates they attend, etc. The child should also ask you for authorisation before sharing potentially sensitive pictures on the internet.
Keep the dialogue openEncourage your kids to be open with you and ask freely about what they see on the internet. If possible try to install the computer in a room where the whole family spends time and where it may be under your supervision, not in his or her bedroom.
15 TO 18 YEARS OLD
Nobody should know their passwords
We know how the teenagers are and that they can get really difficult, but make sure they understand the best practices when it comes to passwords. After all, they are like their house keys.
PA:Press Association Don’t allow your child to make financial transactions online without your permission
Respect the privacy of your teenagers but at the same make sure they never give a copy of their passwords to a stranger in person or over the internet.
Immediately report stalking and cyberbullying
Remember the bullies in your class? The big kid that was making the life really hard for the geeks? Nowadays, many of them have moved to modern technology and are hiding behind the internet.
What hasn’t changed is the fact that they try to psychologically harm others. Therefore, children should be told to immediately inform their parents if they ever come across these wrongful acts.
Financial online transactions are only for adults
Purchasing something on the internet should not be a problem, as long as it is carefully done.
Until kids understand the necessary precautionary measures to be taken when sending personal financial information, they should do so only under their parents’ supervision.
TOP TIPS FOR PARENTS
1. Use parental control tools
This can be used both in browsers and also in antivirus software. It can be found in Version 9 of ESET Smart Security or also as a separate app ESET Parental Control for Android.
This sort of tools are also available for game consoles, such as Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360.
There are parental control tools available for the Nintendo Wii
2. Do not let your kid send confidential information over the internet
Sensitive information should never be requested via e-mail or chat. Banks do not request your account data and much less your PIN in this way. It is also important not to give such valuable information to your children.
3. Do not answer nor eliminate stalking messages
If your child is a victim of cyberbullying he or she should not retaliate. Explain that the stalker wants to provoke exactly this sort of reaction as it feeds his or her desire to harm. If you come across this sort of situations and if they happen again, notify the corresponding authorities. However, never erase any message received, as it is evidence of the act.
Alamy Don’t retaliate to online bullies but don’t eliminate them
4. Not everything you see online is true
Not all the information that can be found on the web comes from a reliable source and it is important for the child to know the difference. Create a blog where you can post your opinion to demonstrate how easy it is to acquire a space online and manipulate the content.
5. Open dialogue
The communication you have with your children plays a key role in their safety. It is much more productive to encourage them to talk about their fears and concerns than to punish them. A good environment and an open dialogue, both on the internet as well as in real life, may be the key to success when dealing with their well-being
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6. If you post something online, it stays there forever
Teach your kids, that anything posted online stays there forever. What is more, they lose control over it as it can be shared by anybody, even by strangers. A good rule of thumb is not to share any photos, statuses or other content they would not want you or their grandma to see.
This applies to all forms of online presence – social networks, instant messengers, blogs or comments.
For more visit: Saferkidsonline.info