Internet game tells kids to commit suicide - Parents warned about bizarre videos
The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), an agency of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, is strongly urging parents to be vigilant in relation to what their children see on the Internet.
This advice was issued by the agency’s CEO, Kaysia Kerr, following news that web suicide game Momo has been popping up, while kids are watching seemingly innocent YouTube videos of Peppa Pig, Fortnite and other cartoons.
Momo is said to target young children by encouraging them to text a number on WhatsApp. They are then sent instructions to complete a series of bizarre and dangerous tasks, from watching a horror movie to taking their own lives. If the children don’t complete the tasks, it is said that they are threatened with violence or told that their personal information would be leaked.
The eerie game is synonymous with the face of a girl with long, black hair and big bug-like eyes staring straight through the lens.
Kerr is, therefore, asking guardians to take precautions.
“The commission has been alerted of this challenge that lures children into self-harming practices. Other aspects of the game encourage children to physically hurt their parents. We must ensure that our children are protected from any-thing that is a potential harm. Whereas, generally the Internet is a great tool for interconnectedness and information, it is also that place that can lead children into very dangerous situations,” she said.
Japanese special effects firm Link Factory created the bizarre character, but the company has said that it is not involved in the online suicide game, which has sparked worldwide concern.
Recently, the evil game has been linked to the death of a 12-year-old girl from Argentina.
Re-emphasising that the Internet can be a scary place for children, Kerr said that she is also encouraging caregivers to have frank discussions with their children about Internet use.
“The Momo Challenge is one of few harmful challenges that is on the Internet, so parents must therefore stay in the know and talk to their children about how to respond to ‘pop ups’ because a lot of these challenges often happen when the kids are engaging in other wholesome Internet activities. We have to take things like this seriously, as our children are being exposed to some really disturbing images online. Keep especially young children within your line of sight whenever they are online so that their engagements can be monitored,” Kerr said.