The Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued a safety alert for students and parents over the circulation of a new online suicide game, 'Momo Challenge.'
The new game, reportedly being circulated on various social media platforms, particularly WhatsApp, consists of “a variety of self-harming dares” and finally ends with a suicide challenge.
“The game inspires teenagers/children/any other user (the player) to add unknown contacts on WhatsApp by the name of Momo,” the ministry noted in its advisory.
Once the contact is added, the image of “a terrifying” Japanese "Momo" doll with bulging eyes appears in the contact.
“The gave controller then entices the player to perform a series of challenges. Players are threatened with violent images, audios or videos if they do not follow instructions,” the ministry added while advising parents to remain alert of their children's activities.
“Monitor online and social media activity of your children to ensure that they are not engaging with this (Momo) challenge. Keep your eyes open for unusually secretive behaviour, mostly related to their online activity,” the ministry suggested parents.
It also suggested parents to install “a good cyber/mobile parenting software” in the devices used by their children to monitor their activities.
“Remind your child that you are there and will support them as they face life challenges. If you fear your child may be at risk, get professional help right away,” the ministry added.
Last year, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had issued a safety alert for parents and teachers after some cases of suicide in India were suspected to have links with the deadly "Blue Whale Challenge" game on the internet. The suicide game triggered a nationwide concern over the safety of children.
While advising parents and teachers to remain vigilant of the youngsters' activities in cyberspace, the NCPCR had then said that those aged between 12 and 19 years were most vulnerable to the "Blue Whale Challenge".