Parents in the UK have been warned about a dangerous online game that encourages children to hurt themselves and others.
The online ‘suicide game’ is played through social messaging services such as Facebook and WhatsApp and has spread across the world, prompting a number of safety fears from police.
It seems the sick craze, symbolised by a frightening bug-eyed woman, has reached the UK, after a mum in Greater Manchester posted a warning about it on social media.
The Manchester Evening News reported that a parent in Westhoughton, Bolton, said she was ‘deeply alarmed’ when her seven-year-old son’s teacher told her he’d made threats to other children in school.
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.”
She added: “When ***** watched a video the ‘momo’ character told him to tell everyone to fear Momo or it will kill him in his sleep. So I have one very frightened little boy and some deep concerns about the kids in his school.
“Parent controls are as tight as could be and this **** still slips through. So if you have a child it would be well worth it to open up a dialogue about idiots online and try to get ahead of this.”
The Momo game begins when players receive an invitation to message the shadowy controller of an account called ‘Momo’, who preys on users’ gullibility or fears.
The account sends violent images and instructions for potentially deadly tasks, and threatens the player if they refuse to follow the game’s orders.
She said: “We hold our children’s hand to cross the road because we can see that danger, we cannot see the dangers online.
“I have an eight-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter and honestly, I don’t always know what they are getting up to online, but I am learning.
“We are the first generation of parents to learn about the dangers this new online world can bring. And we don’t have experience of parents before us offering advice as it has never happened before.
“The online games and social media companies need to do more but as parents we have to find out and learn more about what our children are getting up to while online.
“Only by talking to them, and knowing how to block and report inappropriate content can we start to make a difference, but we have to do our homework.”
For help and advice to keep your children safe online visit internetmatters.org .