Ludhiana – The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, has issued advisory/guidelines regarding online dangerous game “Momo Challenge”. While referring to the letter in this regard, Deputy Commissioner Mr Pardeep Kumar Agrawal informed that this game involves teenagers/children/any other user (the player), who are challenged to communicate with unknown members. He said that this game has gone viral on social media platforms, especially WhatsApp.
He further stated that the “Momo Challenge” consists of a variety of self harming dares, which becomes increasingly risky as the game progresses and it finally ends with a suicide challenge. The game involves challenges that encourage teenagers/children/any other user to engage in a series of violent acts as challenges of the game.
The game asks the players to add unknown contacts on WhatsApp by the name of “Momo” and once the contact is added, the image of the terrifying Japanese “Momo” doll with bulging eyes appears in contact. The game controller then entices player to perform a series of challenges and while playing the game, they are threatened with violent images, audios or videos, if the player do not follow instructions.
The Deputy Commissioner said that if the symptoms if the child is addicted to this dangerous game are if child becomes withdrawn from friends and family, persistent low mood or unhappiness, looking worried that stops him/her from carrying out day to day tasks, sudden outbursts of anger directed at themselves or others, loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy, visible marks like deep cuts or wounds on any part of the body of the child etc.
He urged the parents to check with the child, ask how things are going. Ask if there have been things stressing them, or anything that has them worried. If your child is talking about any level of distress, do not hesitate to ask them about changes in mental health. Unless there is a reason to believe your child already knows of or has played the game, don’t discuss about the Blue Whale game. By doing so, you increase the chance that your child will search for it on their own. Monitor your child’s online and social media activity to ensure they are not engaging with this game.
The Deputy Commissioner said that parents should keep their eyes open for usually secretive behaviour, mostly related to their online activity, a sudden increase in the time they spend online especially social media, they seem to change screens on their device when approached, they become withdrawn or angry after using the internet or sending text messages, their device suddenly has many new phone numbers or email contacts.
The parents should install good cyber/mobile parenting software, which helps them in monitoring their children, take reports from child counsellor present in the school at regular intervals, if they fear that the child may be at risk, get professional help right away and remind your child that you are there and will support them as they face life challenges.
Deputy Commissioner Mr Pardeep Kumar Agrawal has also directed the District Education Officers to ensure that they educate the teachers and school authorities to stop the children from taking up this life consuming deadly challenge.