A DISTURBING WhatsApp “suicide challenge” game has triggered several warnings to parents after being linked to the death of a 12-year-old girl.
Several police forces have voiced their concerns over the Momo game – here’s the latest on the warnings which have been issued over the disturbing “game” and how to raise it with your kids…
Central European News The disturbing avatar for Momo was created by a Japanese artist with no connection with the game
What is Momo?
Momo is a disturbing WhatsApp “suicide” game feared to have taken the life of a 12-year-old girl.
According to the Computer Crime Investigation Unit in the Mexican state of Tabasco, the game started on Facebook where members were “challenged” to communicate with an unknown number.
The avatar used by Momo is an image of a woman with grotesque features and bulging eyes. It is from a sculpture created by special effects outfit Link Factory, and was recently featured in a display at an art gallery in Tokyo, Japan.
Speaking to BBC News Portuguese language site, Rodrigo Nejm of Brazil’s NGO Safernet said it’s unclear how widespread the game is but claimed it was most likely a form of “bait” used by criminals to steal data and extort people on the internet.
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.
Central European News The authorities in Argentina issued this warning about Momo
How many deaths has the WhatsApp suicide game been linked to?
Cops in Argentina are linking the game to the death of a 12-year-old who took her own life and have issued a warning to parents, the Buenos Aires Times reported.
They are hunting for the “adolescent with whom she exchanged those messages”.
The National Police of Spain have warned against the “absurd challenges”.
On August 28, 2018, the death of a teenager in India was also linked to the Momo “suicide game”.
The 18-year-old, named locally as Manish Sarki, was found in a livestock shed which had the words “Illuminati” and “Devil’s one eye” scrawled on the wall.
The private school student went missing from his home in Kurseong in West Bengal, India, on Monday before his body was found later that night.
In September 2018, a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy in Colombia killed themselves after reportedly playing the sick game.
Their deaths happened within a 48 hour period in the Barbosa in Santander in the west of the South American country.
FOR PARENTS: How to talk about peer pressure1) Create the right situation:Make sure you both have time to talk, the atmosphere is relaxed, and remember that this is a conversation, not an interrogation.
2) Listen:Avoid solely talking at them. Listen to their concerns and their experiences.
3) Acknowledge their worries:Dismissing their feelings will only shut down the conversation and make them reluctant to talk about what’s bothering them.
4) Help them practise ways of saying no:Rehearsing with them ways to stand up to peer pressure and coming up with alternatives for them will build their confidence.
5) Keep the conversation going:Let them know that they can always come to you if they have more worries, and take an interest in how they get on saying “no”.
Any adult who wants advice on how to talk to their child about peer pressure can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Is it in the UK?
In February, 2019, a British mum issued a chilling warning after her seven-year-old son told other kids they would be “killed in their beds” while playing the deadly “Momo” challenge.
The unidentified mother, from Bolton, said she was “deeply alarmed” to discover her young son had been making threats to other children in school, MEN reports.
After speaking with the youngster, she was horrified to discover he had been playing the Momo challenge.
In her post, shared in the Love Westhoughton Facebook group, she said: “When I collected him from school the teacher asked to talk to me.
“She said ***** had made 3 kids cry by telling them that ‘Momo was going to go into their room at night and kill them’.
“When we got home I spoke to him about this and he told me that some kids at school had told him to look at the ‘Momo challenge’ which he did.”
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Reports claim Momo has appeared in Mexico, Argentina, United States, France, Germany and now India.
The National Police of Spain have warned “it is better to ignore absurd challenges that come in the fashion in WhatsApp”.
They added on Twitter: “Do not go into ‘Momo’! If you record the number on your calendar, you will see a strange woman’s face, it’s the latest WhatsApp viral to come in vogue among teenagers.”How can parents protect their children?
Carolyn Bunting, CEO of online child safety group Internet Matters, told the Sun parents should sit down and talk with their children.
She said: “The existence of online challenges such as Momo are clearly a matter for concern for parents.
“Our latest Back To School research found 7 out of 10 parents of Year 7 pupils are worried their children will be pushed into dangerous online crazes and challenges.
“While it is important not to panic and jump to conclusions without knowing all of the facts, it is also healthy for parents to sit down with their children and talk about all aspects of their online world.
“Myth or not – this reinforces the need for parents to be have regular, honest and open conversations about what their children are doing online and who they are talking to.”
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans can be contacted free on 116 123