Police issues new warnings over terrifying 'Momo’ online game which urges children to self-harm

The 'challenge' encourages people to hurt and even kill themselves

Content Editor / February 27 2019

The ‘Momo challenge’ is an evil online game which encourages children to self-harm and even suicide by setting 'tasks' and sending them disturbing and graphic photographs.

The game, which appears to have originated in Japan, is an online viral sensation which depicts an image of a sculpture of a young woman with bulging eyes, long black hair, bird legs and a creepy smile.

Momo is played through Whatsapp, Facebook, Youtube and other online platforms, and now police have issued fresh warnings saying it is used by hackers to mine information, Nine News reports.

It is targeted mainly at children and teenagers and participants contacting ‘Momo’ by sending messages to an unknown number through Whatsapp.

They are then bombarded with terrifying images and messages, which range from threats and dares to encouraging self-harm and even suicide.

A number of juvenile deaths have been reported from around the world in recent months, believed to be caused by the game.

A 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy were found to have taken their own lives within 48 hours of each other in Colombia and a 12-year-old girl was found dead in her backyard near Buenos Aires in Argentina, with authorities investigating links to the game.

In September, a 13-year-old Brazilian girl was found by her mother at their home near of Rio de Janeiro, attempting to injure herself.

It is believed she had been sent online messages threatening that if she didn’t hurt herself, her family would be killed.

This week police in Northern Ireland expressed concerns about the game, saying it is threatening the lives of local children.

“As creepy as she looks, 'Momo' isn't going to crawl out of your child’s phone and kill them,” a statement said.

“The danger lies with your child feeling pressured to either follow the orders of any app via 'challenges', or peer pressure in chat rooms and the like.”

Police are urging parents to be vigilant when it comes to their children’s online interactions, monitor their screen time, ensure they know not to give out personal information, and to be make sure they know that no one has the right to make them do anything they don't want to.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.