Schools in Lowestoft area issue warning to parents over Momo 'suicide challenge'
PUBLISHED: 13:30 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:49 27 February 2019
Parents of children who attend schools in the Lowestoft area have been warned about the dangers of an online 'suicide challenge' dubbed Momo.
Roman Hill Primary School, Red Oak Primary School, Elm Tree Primary Academy and Grove Primary are among the schools to have issued information via their social media channels and websites over the past 24 hours.
Their caution includes a factsheet telling parents what the challenge entails, how children are becoming absorbed by the game and what they should do if they are asked to play the game.
In a post on its Twitter page, Roman Hill Primary said there have been “concerns raised” over children being exposed to the Momo challenge, while Grove Primary used Facebook to circulate a “warning for all parents and carers.”
The factsheet describes Momo as a “new viral game that encourages players to perform a series of challenges in order to meet ‘Mother Bird’” - a haunting character with bulging eyes and untidy hair.
It adds that, although the game appears to be “light-hearted and fun at the outset”, the experience soon darkens when players are absorbed and told to perform acts of self-harm and violence “through a series of progressively risky challenges.”
Some police forces have said that, while the challenges are evidently disturbing, they are more importantly being used as a front by hackers trying to steal information.
Originating in Mexico more than two years ago, the Momo challenge made headlines in August last year before the game spread even further in recent weeks across YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The disfigured character players appears to be inspired by a sculpture made in Japan, which has even featured on display in a Tokyo art gallery.
While its creator is not affiliated in any way with the game, the Momo creation and accompanying challenges have increasingly been edited into videos designed for young children.
It has been linked to the death of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina and has also surfaced in countries including Colombia, India, France, Germany and the USA.
Parents have been urged to educate their children on the following:
• The importance of saying ‘no’ to invitations to play games from strangers
• Knowing why they should not click on unidentified links
• Knowing how to ‘block’ unknown numbers and friend requests