WORRIED about the Momo challenge? Parents across the UK are looking for a way to fight back against the scary character – and WhatsApp is a great place to start.
If you’re concerned by reports of strangers messaging children using the Momo picture, you can follow our guide to block them immediately.
Kennedy News and Media The sick Momo character has been reported by parents across the UK
How to block a contact on WhatsApp
Blocking a WhatsApp contact is easy, and is the fastest way to shut out a stranger from your child’s phone.
There are two main ways to do it.
The first is to click on a chat with the person you want to block, then tap on their name at the top.
Then scroll down to the bottom of their page and hit Block Contact.
Twitter Advice for parents about the disturbing challenge
Alternatively, you can click on the Settings tab then go into Account, then Privacy.
Next, tap on Blocked to see your blocked contacts – and hit Add New to enter to block someone.
Little girl, 6, sings ‘Momo’s gonna kill you’ while hugging cuddly toy as Mum tries to reassure her scary character isn’t real
FOR KIDS: How to say noIt can sometimes be hard to stand up to your friends, so Childline offers the following tips on how to say no:
1) Say NO with confidence:Be assertive. It’s your choice and you don’t have to do something which makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
2) Try not to judge them:By respecting their choices, they should respect yours.
3) Spend time with friends who can say ‘no’:It takes confidence and courage to say no to your friends. Spend time with other friends who also aren’t taking part.
4) Suggest something else to do:If you don’t feel comfortable doing what your friends are doing, suggest something else to do.
Any child worried about peer pressure or online worries can contact Childline on 0800 1111
Can you block ALL texts from strangers?
Sadly, WhatsApp doesn’t have a setting that lets you block all texts from strangers.
That means you’ll have to manually block individuals messaging your children on a case-by-case basis.
However, this may be a good time to consider having your child use a different message system.
Anyone with an iPhone can activate a feature that splits messages from people who aren’t your contacts into a separate list.
This makes it easy for parents to make sure outsiders aren’t texting your child.
It also turns off notifications for iMessages from people who aren’t in your contacts.
To do this, go to Settings > Messages and then turn Filter Unknown Senders on.
Is the Momo Challenge a hoax?THE Momo Challenge is believed to have originated in South America.The creepy face of a Japanese sculpture was hijacked and spread on WhatsApp – reportedly with instructions enticing children to perform a series of dangerous tasks including self-harm and suicide.
In recent days police and schools have issued warnings about the challenge arriving in the UK and a number of parents have said their children have been exposed to it.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom even told MPs the Government is “extremely concerned” about it.
But confusingly UK charities and internet experts have suggested the challenge is a hoax.
The Samaritans and the NSPCC said there is no confirmed evidence anyone has come to physical harm.
And YouTube claimed: “We have found no evidence of videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube.”
While it appears the challenge itself may not have reached Britain, sick copycats have been traumatising children by splicing a ghoulish video of a bug-eyed girl into Peppa Pig cartoons and Fortnite gameplay footage.
Parents given tips to keep children safe from Momo suicide craze ‘affecting three in 10 kids’
Can you read your child’s WhatsApp messages remotely?
There’s no way to have the same WhatsApp account on two smartphones.
But if you have a very young child, you might want to consider setting up WhatsApp Web.
WhatsApp Web lets you see WhatsApp messages on your computer, if the smartphone with the main account is switched on.
This will allow you to keep an eye on a very young child’s messages without physically holding the phone itself.
To use WhatsApp Web, simply go onto WhatsApp then head into Settings and tap WhatsApp Web, which will guide you through the set-up.
SAFETY NET: How to keep your child safe onlineThe Internet can be an amazing tool to help children learn and play.
But with the digital world changing all the time, how can you make sure your child is safe?
Set up parental controls
Parental controls can be used to block upsetting or harmful content, control in-app purchases or manage how long your child spends online
The filters can help control what time of day your child can go online, and to stop them from downloading apps they are too young for
Talk to your children
Have regular conversations about what your child is doing online
Explore sites and apps together
Talk about what personal information they should share online
Create a family agreement about what behaviour is appropriate when they are online
Do your research
Check through websites your child will use through the Net Aware
Change privacy settings and turning off location sharing
If you need help now, you can phone experts on the free NSPCC & O2 helpline 0808 800 5002
What is Momo?
Momo, initially a Japanese sculpture, has been overtaken by warped Internet trolls using the image to terrify youngsters and issuing challenges on WhatsApp before reportedly popping up in YouTube videos and on Fortnite to issue more challenges and threats.
The sick avatar has sparked warnings from schools and even police as reports of terrified children increase in the UK and across the world.
Disturbingly, many parents revealed they had no idea why their child’s behaviour had changed – and it was only when they asked their son or daughter if they knew who Momo was that they were met with disturbing reactions.
UK schools up and down the country are warning parents to be on their guard as kids receive sick challenges to self-harm or death threats by the online character.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has even confirmed it is liaising with other UK forces over the ‘disturbing game’.
Detective Sergeant Elaine McCormill said: “This extremely disturbing challenge conceals itself within other harmless looking games or videos played by children and when downloaded, it asks the user to communicate with ‘Momo’ via popular messaging applications such as WhatsApp.
“It is at this point that children are threatened that they will be cursed or their family will be hurt if they do not self-harm.”
collects Toddler Trims, a hair salon in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has now shared images of the young girl who is among those to have fallen victim to the challenge
collects The salon tells parents to search online for the Momo Challenge so they know what they’re up against
Police Scotland also released a warning, telling parents: “We would encourage parents not to panic, but instead sit down with their children and talk about all aspects of their online world and explain the potential dangers.”
CORE OF THE PROBLEM? Apple engineer says pressure to design iPhone is reason I’m divorced POLAR PANIC UK Antarctica base ABANDONED as fears grow over ‘giant chasm’ racing across ice RevealedAPPSOLUTE MADNESS WhatsApp message trick reveals EXACT number of texts you’ve sent to pals NICE LITTLE ERNIE Premium Bonds computer with quantum tech could make you a millionaire ExclusiveBENDY BLOWER Apple ‘experimenting with FOLDABLE iPhone in secret design labs for years’
A YouTube spokesman said: “Contrary to press reports, we’ve not received any recent evidence of videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube.
“Content of this kind would be in violation of our policies and removed immediately.”
However the company confirmed they have seen content reporting on the Momo character and people have sent them screenshots of thumbnails with the Momo character in it, but said the content had been ‘focused on discussing/documenting/reporting on the challenge and the character’.
To contact NSPCC, you can call the helpline on 0808 800 5000 or children under 18 can call 0800 1111
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans can be contacted on 020 7734 2800