School warns parents about dangerous cyber challenge

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A Yellowknife school is warning parents about a type of social media game after learning students at the school were talking about it and some of the dangerous challenges participants are asked to take part in.

The warning from St. Joseph School, issued at just before 5 p.m Friday, concerns a viral internet phenomenon known as the “Momo Challenge,” described as a form of cyberbulling where people on social media are told to contact a sinister-looking character called Momo who responds “by challenging users to complete a number of dangerous activities.”

A Momo Challenge avatar from Instagram.

Yellowknifer found several different user accounts on Facebook and Instagram under the name “Momo,”all depicting a bug-eyed figure with black hair for a profile picture. The school’s warning includes a pair of media reports from Ontario and Quebec that describe the Momo Challenge as a worldwide phenomenon “where people are sent disturbing images and asked to complete dangerous tasks.”

The suicide of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina is reportedly linked to the phenomenon.

“People who receive a photo of a woman’s sculpture on the messaging app WhatsApp are invited to contact an account and do as they’re told,” CBC reported on Aug. 20.

“If they refuse, they are told the woman will visit them at night or will launch a curse.”

The warning states parents should contact the school or RCMP if they have any questions.

“At this point, we have not had any students report that they have been in contact with this Momo character,” states the school’s letter. ” We have, however, had some students discussing the challenge with their peers and some of the dangerous activities that users are expected to participate in.”

 

 

 

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