The viral “Momo” challenge, which first made headlines last fall, is spreading once again. This time, in Europe.
Lyn Dixon of Edinburgh, Scotland, told Daily Express her 8-year-old son was searching through YouTube recently when the infamous “Momo” figure splashed across his screen. The scary doll boasts bulging eyes, dark, stringy hair, and a menacing smirk.
WARNING: the video below contains content that may be disturbing to some readers
I never tweet about things like this but I think it is absolutely disgusting how someone has been sad enough to create this momo challenge. Absolutely awful on its own not alone the fact it’s aimed for kids!! #MomoChallenge pic.twitter.com/gpN0TKwmj1
— Brooklyn? (@brooklyndayy) February 25, 2019
Ever since he saw the clip, Dixon said, her son has been scared of the dark and cannot handle being alone for any length of time. Thankfully, though, he told his mother about the “Momo” figure and the accompanying challenge.
“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,” Dixon recalled. “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.”
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After seeing the video, the young boy, who was using a mobile phone that had internet protections on it, was so terrified, he wouldn’t sleep in his own bed and would not go upstairs alone because it was too dark.
Dixon reached out to administrators at her son’s school, asking teachers to give students a lesson on internet usage and safety.
A spokesperson for the United Kingdom’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) told Express it can be difficult for parents to keep track of everything their children access on the internet because technologies are constantly evolving and advancing.
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“That’s why it’s important for parents to talk regularly with their children about these apps and games and the potential risks they can be exposed to,” the spokesperson said.
Police in Northern Ireland have also issued a warning to parents, urging them to be vigilant when it comes to the “Momo” challenge, according to the Evening Standard.
In a Facebook post, the Craigavon Police Department reported the challenge is being operated “by hackers who are looking for personal info.”
“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,” the statement read. “[W]hatever or whoever is behind it, there is no disputing the content being sent is horrendous.”
When did this trend begin?
The disturbing game first garnered international attention in September 2018, when two Colombian children allegedly committed suicide after participating in the “Momo” challenge.
Within 48 hours of each other, a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy took their own lives after they supposedly played the game through the Facebook-owned WhatsApp communication tool.
The sick and twisted ‘game’ purports to feature a series of challenges that end by daring the children to take their own lives.
The hideous “Momo” figure was first designed by the Japanese-based art company Link Factory. The brand has denied any involvement in the creation or distribution of the vile game.