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Fears over WhatsApp ‘suicide’ challenge linked to death of 12-year-old girl




Concerns have been raised over a new WhatsApp ‘Momo suicide game’ that has been compared to the Blue Whale challenge.

Momo is said to be similar to Blue Whale, which was linked to at least 130 teen deaths across Russia, in that a controller also encourages youngsters to harm themselves after sending them violent images via the messaging app.

If they do not comply they are apparently threatened.

The suicide of a 12-year-old girl in Ingeniero Maschwitz, in Argentina, has been linked to the game, the Buenos Aires Times reported.

Police are investigating whether she was encouraged to take her own life and are looking for an 18-year-old boy who allegedly contacted her before her death.

Detectives said the girl’s ‘intention was to upload the video to social media as part of a challenge crediting the Momo game’.

Police said in a statement: ‘The phone has been hacked to find footage and WhatsApp chats, and now the alleged adolescent with whom she exchanged those messages is being sought.’
The so called game is also apparently concerning Mexican authorities, which have warned parents and young people on the dangers.

The avatar used for the Momo game is a haunting image of a woman with exaggerated features taken from the work of Japanese artist Midori Hayashi.

The Psafe blog described the Momo game as a social engineering attack, which may not necessarily be real, but can still cause harm through online harassment and cyber bullying.

It advised parents on ways it could protect children, which included keeping an eye on their contact list to make sure they were not speaking to strangers, paying attention to what they were sharing on social networks and using good anti-virus software to filter out unsolicited messages.

Commenting on Blue Whale, the NSPCC said children should not feel pressured into doing anything that makes them feel unsafe.

A spokesperson said: ‘Children can find it difficult to stand up to peer pressure but they must know it’s perfectly okay to refuse to take part in crazes that make them feel unsafe or scared.

‘Parents should talk with their children and emphasise that they can make their own choices and discuss ways of how to say no.

‘Reassuring a child that they can still be accepted even if they don’t go along with the crowd will help stop them doing something that could hurt them or make them uncomfortable.’
https://www.geezgo.com/sps/32946

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