Parents in Derbyshire are being warned about the latest 'craze' targeting young children on social media dubbed the 'suicide challenge'.
'Momo' is a new viral game played using Whatsapp or Facebook.
It starts when the user - normally children - receive an invitation to message Momo - a creepy doll figure with bulging eyes. Momo then encourages the user to carry out acts of violence or self harm.
Police believe the game has been invented by hackers to gain access to personal information and are urging parents to know what their children access online, ensure children know not to give out personal information and that no one has the right to tell them what to do.
The Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy in Derbyshire has published advice for parents on their website. It says: "The challenges issued in this game present a serious risk to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people in our schools here in the UK, as does the distressing content when a player refuses to carry on. With worrying similarities to the ‘Blue Whale challenge’, it has also been linked to at least five cases of childhood suicide.
"Sharing and commentary on social media platforms has created a level of intrigue and curiosity about this game, which is initially light hearted and fun. Fundamentally, however, this is a game that targets vulnerable children and young people online, as those with mental health issues are more likely to be drawn to the psychological nature of the challenges."
How it works
-Players are encouraged to contact Momo and provide their mobile number
- They will then receive instructions to perform a series of challenges, via SMS or Whatsapp.
- Player refusal can trigger severely abusive messaging and their mobile device being hacked.
- The final challenge is to commit suicide in order to meet ‘Mother Bird’.