teens

The terrifying online "game" that has been linked to the deaths of three teens.

A dangerous online “game” named Momo has been linked to the death of two Colombian teenagers.

A 16-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl from the town of Barbosa, Colombia – who haven’t been named – are believed to have taken their own lives within 48 hours of each other late last month after taking part in the sinister challenge, local news outlets reported.

RCN Radio reported the boy was found first, and that authorities believe he passed the game on to the girl before he died. Within 48 hours, the 12-year-old, believed to be his girlfriend, was also found dead.

These aren’t the first lives allegedly claimed by the game. Police in Argentina are investigating whether a 12-year-old girl’s death was due to playing Momo.

After the girl took her own life on July 22 at her home about an hour from Buenos Aires, police hacked her phone and found messages and videos that suggest the girl may have taken her own life as part of the twisted game.

So what is Momo and how can parents protect their children from it?

Momo is an online “game” operated through the messaging service WhatsApp. It has been likened to the infamous online game Blue Whale, which was reportedly linked to the deaths of at least 130 Russian teenagers in 2016.

Like Blue Whale, the game is based on the player completing escalating challenges.

Momo begins with an unknown administrator sending violent images to the person playing, The Mirror reports. It is not yet clear if this is an actual person or an automated bot.

what is momo
A warning released by Mexican authorities.

It then threatens the user not to disobey the game's orders. It is believed the operator hacks the person's phone or otherwise obtains videos, pictures or information, which they then threaten to release if the victim does not comply.

The avatar for 'Momo' is a horrifying image of a woman with a distorted face and bird legs for arms. It was created by Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, who is not associated with the game.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is believed the game originated in Japan, but is now a growing trend in Europe and South America, even prompting Mexican authorities to release a warning to parents and produce posters about it.

Momo likened to Blue Whale and The Slender Man myth

The set-up of Momo sounds eerily similar to the Blue Whale game that reportedly claimed the lives of at least 130 Russian teens in 2016.

The social media game involved children being set escalating tasks such as self-harming and watching horror movies. On the 50th day of the challenge, the victims are told to take their own lives.

Similarities to the online legend of Slender Man have also been suggested.

Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser were found not guilty on the grounds of insanity.

In May 2014, two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin, US stabbed their 12-year-old classmate, claiming it was because the Slender Man told them to.

Anxious parents were told at the time of the Blue Whale phenomenon to protect their children by talking to them, and the same advice applies to Momo.

UK children's charity National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children told The Mirror parents should reinforce to their children that they should not feel pressure into doing anything that makes them feel unsafe or scared.

"Parents should talk with their children and emphasise that they can make their own choices and discuss ways of how to say no.

"Reassuring a child that they can still be accepted even if they don’t go along with the crowd will help stop them doing something that could hurt them or make them uncomfortable."

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you are urged to phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???