Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

Even before the global scare of Blue Whale challenge could leave us, there’s another such deadly trend that’s gotten parents very concerned – The Momo Challenge.

The Momo Challenge that uses platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Youtube has been linked to the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina.

According to the officers investigating the death of the girl, her phone was hacked to find footage and WhatsApp chats, and now the alleged adolescent with whom she exchanged those messages is being sought.

A report in the Metro states that Momo is a social media account and uses artwork. Much like the Blue Whale challenge, this new challenge also uses fear as the main weapon. The game forces participants to follow instructions while they are asked to communicate with an unknown number, by using images of a woman with scary features.

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In case users don’t follow orders, violent and scary images are used to threaten them. Something like this might not impact an adult, but kids will certainly be psyched by something like this, and end up harming themselves, somewhat like the victims of Blue Whale challenge did.

The game is likely a way for criminals to steal data from people and then extort them, Rodrigo Nejm of Brazil’s NGO Safernet told BBC News.

Tips for parents

  • Invest more time with your children
  • Monitor and control the games they play
  • Keep a track of online communications by your children -chats, emails, messages (You can use apps such as Bosco – Family Safety & Locator)
  • Observe any sudden changes in your child’s behavior
  • Build a confidence in them and guide them to get rid of ‘peer pressure’
  • Make sure that your children do not get up at late night or during any strange hours
  • Talk with them freely like a friend and try to understand their worries.
  • Give a listening ear for your teenagers
  • Teach your children about safe online behaviour and how to manage privacy settings