Momo 'challenge': The true story behind the horrifying trend police say is terrorising children

[PHOTO: COURTESY]
Parents have been warned about a sick WhatsApp 'suicide' game called Momo that could be next Blue Whale.

The disturbing online game has made its way to the UK after being linked to the death of a young girl in Argentina - and at least 130 teen deaths across Russia.

The 'Momo challenge' begins with a shadowy controller sending violent images to the victim over WhatsApp.

The online game, which targets youngsters, then threatens the player if they refuse to follow the game's 'orders'.

The avatar for Momo is a haunting image of a woman with grotesque features and bulging eyes taken from the work of Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, who is not associated with the game.

Last year the Momo challenge was linked to the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in the town of Ingeniero Maschwitz near Buenos Aires, Argentina.

She filmed a video on her phone shortly before she died, reports the Buenos Aires Times.

Officers suspect someone encouraged her to take her own life and investigated an unidentified 18-year-old teenager believed to have been in contact with the girl.

A police statement said at the time: "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.”

They added they believe the teenager's “intention was to upload the video to social media as part of a challenge crediting the Momo game" for the suicide.

[PHOTO: COURTESY]
Authorities in Mexico have also started an information campaign to warn youngsters and parents about Momo.

The Computer Crime Unit of Tabasco said: "The risk of this challenge among young people and minors is that criminals can use it to steal personal information, incite suicide or violence, harass, extort and generate physical and psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.”

Blue Whale was a horrifying social media phenomenon where youngsters were encouraged to undertake horrific daily tasks including self-harming, watching horror films and waking up at unusual hours.

The tasks, issued by manipulative social media users, escalate until the 50th day when youngsters are told to kill themselves.

Commenting on Blue Whale, the NSPCC say 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.”

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