Lancashire schools issue advice to parents after concerns are raised over sinister 'Momo Challenge'

The Momo character
The Momo character

Parents are being issued advice after reports of a 'suicide game' sweeping social media.

Schools across Lancashire have shared advice on how to speak to children about online safety, after it was revealed that an image of a scary woman with bulging eyes known as Momo is being used to torment and horrify children on messaging apps such as WhatsApp and being spliced into online videos.

Police expressed concern about the image, which they say is being used by cyber criminals in an attempt to steal from people, and some parents claim the character is encouraging children to hurt themselves.

St Bernard's Catholic Primary School in Victoria Park Avenue, Preston, has shared police advice on its social media platforms.

A spokesman for the school said: "Some parents have contacted us with their concerns about this, and we feel it's better to get information out about it than ignore it."

Holme Slack Community Primary School has shared the National Online Safety advice about Momo, and is offering additional help to parents.

A statement online said: "If you need any further help or advice regarding this issue or any aspect of online safety please contact school. We can assist with setting up restrictions on tablets and other devices to help keep your children safe."

Lancashire Police said: "It’s really important for parents to talk with their children about these apps and games and the potential risks they can be exposed to.

"Further advice on staying safe online is available on our website and the NSPCC publishes advice and guidance for parents on discussing online safety with their children."

Lancashire County Council, the area's education authority, said it wouldn't be issuing specific advice on the Momo Challenge, instead internet safety advice was already issued to schools and formed part of the curriculum.

A statement on the National Online Safety (NOS) website said: "There have been recent reports that some seemingly innocent videos on YouTube and YouTube Kids (such as ‘surprise eggs’, unboxing videos and Minecraft videos) have been edited by unknown sources to include violence provoking and/or other inappropriate content.

"Even though YouTube monitor and remove videos that include inappropriate content, clips can be uploaded and viewed thousands of times before they get reported and removed.

"As a parent, it’s difficult to spot these videos as the harmful content doesn’t appear until partway through the video."

Below are seven safety tips provided by NOS, but for full details go to National Online Safety >>>

1.Tell them it's not real

2.Be present

3.Talk regularly

4.Use device settings and parental controls

5.Talk to your children about not succumbing to peer pressure

6.Check the validity of concerns to see whether its real or hoax - sharing something untrue may only cause more worry

7.Report and block