Fears 'Momo Challenge' may lead to child deaths

Gardaí warn Longford parents to be vigilant with their children online as disturbing'Momo challenge encourages self-harm

The disturbing image associated with the Momo Challenge

A form of cyber bullying that spreads through social media and smartphones, the "Momo Challenge" much like the "Blue Whale Challenge" entices users to contact a user named "Momo", after which they receive graphic threats from the questionable account and are instructed to perform a series of risky tasks. The "Momo" threatens to kill the parents of those who do not perform the tasks.

Those targeted also receive a number of disturbing and graphic images. Some tips NOS provided include telling your child that "Momo" isn't real, putting device settings and parental controls on their devices, reporting and blocking the inappropriate content and talking to your child regularly about what yor watching.

"When my friends or my family ask kids about it they immediately were like, 'how do you know about it and then ran to them and cried, '" Jessica said.

"In the morning, you will be dead".

There are reports of children as young as 6 years old encountering a creepy woman before she tells them to do a challenge.

YouTube's full statement: "Our Community Guidelines prohibit harmful and unsafe challenges, including promoting the Momo challenge, and we remove this content quickly when flagged to us".

The character has even reportedly cropped up on YouTube Kids, as well as WhatsApp and Fortnite streams.

Schools across the United Kingdom are also posting about the Momo Challenge.

The image of Momo appearing across social media.

YouTube said it had not received any evidence of the challenge on its site.

Originally a Japanese statue, Momo has bulging eyes, a chilling smile and jet-black hair on a bird's body. Encourage your child to talk to you about anything they're unsure of and reiterate the importance of not succumbing to peer pressure.

Anxious parents who have experienced it with their children are urging other parents to take caution. I'm being warned it's on @ YouTube KIDS and @ FortniteGame is it?

Other warnings were issued by other schools, including Newbridge Junior School in Portsmouth and Offley Endowed‏ Primary school in Bedfordshire. No. But I've heard stories from people around Central New York saying their children have seen this character in videos on YouTube where it shouldn't be, and their kids were scared to talk about it. That alone is enough of a concern for me to write about it.

Alastair Graham, CEO of age restriction provider Agechecked.com, has outlined what parents can do to keep their children safe online.

For that reason, parents are being urged to block numbers that engage in these tactics, which are being likened to the "Blue Whale" challenge that gained popularity in 2017 and allegedly led to the deaths of teenagers around the world.

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