An online “game” that supposedly encourages young people to harm themselves and in some cases even take their own lives has been branded a hoax by children’s charities.
Momo – described as a WhatsApp “suicide challenge” – purportedly features an avatar of a woman with dark hair, pale skin and oversized eyes, who sends young people images and instructions on how to harm themselves and others. But after a series of warnings about the game spread across UK social media this week fact-checkers and charities declared Momo a hoax.
The latest parental panic on social media over a purported challenge for kids to complete harmful tasks elevates the importance of establishing an open dialogue with children and taking advantage of online parental controls.
Warnings about the “Momo challenge” swept Facebook and other social media in recent days, as parents worried about purported videos that encourage children to hurt themselves or do other harmful tasks, such as turning on stoves without telling their parents.