Kozhikode: Almost a year after the Blue Whale Challenge allegedly led to a number of suicides among teenagers across the globe, a new game called 'Momo Challenge' is reportedly encouraging children to perform dangerous challenges.
The state police have issued an alert on Momo Challenge, an internet game that reportedly prompts mobile users to take risks. Though no case related to unwarranted incidents involving children has been reported in Kerala, rumours about the game are doing the rounds, creating panic among parents.
Some anti-social elements are spreading fear among the public by spreading messages about the Momo Challenge. Messages from fake phone numbers, camouflaged as messages from Momo Challenge, are spreading a new scare.
Know more about Momo:
The Facebook group, which claims to own Momo, dares users to send a WhatsApp message to an unidentified number.
What's this game?
Momo sends dangerous challenges through WhatsApp. People are urged and prodded to perform cruel acts. They are promised they can see 'Momo' through suicide. When they receive a call from Momo number, they will hear someone's ceaseless cry, apparently unable to withstand pain.
If you try to 'escape' the game...
One gets scary pictures and videos if 'rules' of the game are violated. Also, a threat that computer or phone could be hacked and personal details published.
Where it started
Visuals of a 12-year-old girl hanging herself to death were filmed on the phone in Escobar, Argentina. The police have traced the phone and are investigating the Momo game link.
Momo spreads like wildfire!
The BBC says Momo game has been reported from Mexico, Argentina, United States, France and Germany. So far, no cases reported from India.
The mobile numbers suspected to be of Momo are registered in Japan, Colombia and Mexico.
Who is Momo?
Momo is linked to Japanese sculpture Midori Hayashi's work 'Mother bird by link factory.' The figure is half-chicken and half-woman, the eyes are quite big, can induce fear and curiosity in children.
A movie link?
Many link Momo to the 'Slender Man' film which tells the story of the horrifying fictional character whom girls try to see. It's also linked to the 'death game' Blue Whale.
• Cyber experts say the Momo game is a trick to snatch personal data.
• Online fraudsters could also be involved.
• An effort to blackmail, using photos and videos.
• A trick to torture children mentally and physically.
• Kerala Police say they've noticed false messages being send from fake numbers in the name of Momo. They've warned of stringent action against anyone found doing it.
How to stay safe:
• Do not download apps in the name of Momo, even from Google playstore.
• Parents should watch Internet activities and telephones of children. Tell them not to share personal data including photos, videos and phone numbers on Internet.
• Find time to talk to children if signs of depression, anxiety and lack of sleep are noticed. Take steps to address issues.
• Never respond to unidentified messages on WhatsApp.
• Inform the nearest police station, cyber cell or Kerala Police Cyberdome.