ANOTHER concerned mum has warned parents to keep their children away from internet ‘suicide game’ Momo after a spooky cartoon face told her son to put a knife to his neck.
Lyn Dixon spoke out about the Momo Challenge, a game which is played via WhatsApp, Facebook and Youtube, and encourages children to harm themselves.
It is characterised with an avatar of a girl with long dark hair and big bug-like eyes.
The image was created by Japanese special effects firm Link Factory, which has said it has nothing to do with the Momo Challenge – now an international concern.
Lyn warned that her eight-year-old son became frightened of the dark and of being alone, after images of the Momo avatar popped up on YouTube when he was watching videos.
What is Momo WhatsApp ‘suicide game’ and how can parents protect their children from it?
The mum, from Edinburgh, said the game encourages children to harm themselves.
Lyn said: “He showed me an image of the face on my phone and said that she had told him to go into the kitchen drawer and take out a knife and put it into his neck.
“We’ve told him it’s a load of rubbish and there are bad people out there who do bad things but it’s frightening, really frightening.”
‘HE WAS TERRIFIED’
The challenge allegedly encourages children to hurt themselves after they have been invited to take part by an anonymous controller.
She added: “It started with him not wanting to go upstairs on his own because it was dark up there.
“He was terrified and wouldn’t sleep in his own bed and then we got to the bottom of it and we explained it wasn’t real.”
Momo – The killer suicide game
Momo is a disturbing ‘suicide’ game that has spread through social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
The sick game Momo begins with an avatar – a haunting image of a woman with bulging eyes and long hair.
She sends violent images victims and then threatens the player if they refuse to follow the game’s orders.
A 12-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy are said to have killed themselves after playing the Momo game on WhatsApp in Colombia last year.
The Momo image itself was originally a sculpture created by a Japanese special effects company called Link Factory and displayed in a Tokyo fetish museum in 2016
The sinister game has even been linked to the death of a 12-year-old girl, from Argentina.
A French father filed a complaint with the State Department in November, after his son took his own life.
And the Belgian Public Prosecutor’s Office reported in November 2018 that a 13-year-old boy had been the victim of the “Momo Challenge” and hanged himself.
MOMO UK FEARS
Lyn and her husband told their son’s school of the concerns, prompting a talk about internet safety.
But her son was scared for months after being exposed to the challenge and Lyn was worried when he told her he had seen it again recently.
After another mum shared a post on a Scottish Facebook group last week, scores of parents commented that their children had been exposed to the challenge.
The original poster tells how her niece was told to ‘sacrifice’ herself for her brother.
Lyn added: “It’s a big fear, that we can’t always control what he’s exposed to on the internet.
FOR KIDS: How to say no
It can sometimes be hard to stand up to your friends, so Childline offers the following tips on how to say no:
1) Say NO with confidence:
Be assertive. It’s your choice and you don’t have to do something which makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
2) Try not to judge them:
By respecting their choices, they should respect yours.
3) Spend time with friends who can say ‘no’:
It takes confidence and courage to say no to your friends. Spend time with other friends who also aren’t taking part.
4) Suggest something else to do:
If you don’t feel comfortable doing what your friends are doing, suggest something else to do.
Any child worried about peer pressure or online worries can contact Childline on 0800 1111.
“You read these stories about children committing suicide and we all know how difficult life is now with the pressures on children.
“Social media is a massive part of that.
“It’s horrific and we’ve got no control over it.
“There are controls on the phone but it doesn’t go to the degree I would like it to because it’s what you can’t see that’s the worry.”
A spokesman for NSPCC Scotland said: “The constantly evolving digital world means a steady influx of new apps and games and can be hard for parents to keep track of.
“That’s why it’s important for parents to talk regularly with children about these apps and games and the potential risks they can be exposed to.
“The NSPCC publishes advice and guidance for parents on discussing online safety with their children, as well as Net Aware – the UK’s only parental guide to social media and gaming apps.”
FOR PARENTS: How to talk about peer pressure
1) Create the right situation:
Make sure you both have time to talk, the atmosphere is relaxed, and remember that this is a conversation, not an interrogation.
Avoid solely talking at them. Listen to their concerns and their experiences.
3) Acknowledge their worries:
Dismissing their feelings will only shut down the conversation and make them reluctant to talk about what’s bothering them.
4) Help them practise ways of saying no:
Rehearsing with them ways to stand up to peer pressure and coming up with alternatives for them will build their confidence.
5) Keep the conversation going:
Let them know that they can always come to you if they have more worries, and take an interest in how they get on saying “no”.
Any adult who wants advice on how to talk to their child about peer pressure can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.
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We told yesterday how another Scots mum warned fellow parents over the creepy game.
Kelly claims the sinister creature has been appearing in YouTube videos her daughter has been watching, leaving the girl petrified.
Despite the youngster’s tablet and phone being on kids mode and having parental controls, Momo still pops up in the clips.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on (free) 116123