Advisory on MoMo Whatsapp Challenge by the domain expert

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By Adv Prashant Mali
Cyber Expert

A ‘suicide’ game called Momo Whatsapp Challenge is doing rounds on the social media inlcuding WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube. It’s claimed to be as deadly as the Blue Whale challenge which claimed lives of many teenagers across the globe last year. But is Momo Challenge mere a hoax or a reality? We discuss the ground reality and precautions to keep your child away from it if it’s real.

*What is Momo WhatsApp Challenge?*

Momo begins with a shadowy and controller sending violent images to the child over the messaging app WhatsApp. Upon falling out from following the game rules, the momo whatsApp game then threatens the player. The avatar used for Momo is a haunting image of a woman with grotesque feature and bulging eyes. The avataar is taken from the designs of one of the fictitious character designed by Japanese artist Midori Hayashi.

*Online Games Facts & Figures*

The disturbing new online game targets young children over WhatsApp. In the game, targets are given by a controller over WhatsApp messenger and the child is supposed to follow it to the tee. Parents are been warned that ‘Momo WhatsApp challenge’ game could be the next Blue Whale – a vile and dangerous social media game in india in last 2017 which claimed the lives of more than 130 children across the globe.

Like the Blue Whale Game, Momo WhatsApp suicide game (In Hindi) also give life threatening challenges to children such as shooting your own suicide video, watching horror movies alone and waking up at unusual hours. In one of the recent cases in Argentina, a 12 year old committed suicide in the town of Ingeniero Maschwitz near Buenos Aires. This incident is allegedly linked to the WhatsApp .

*How to Safeguard Your Child from Suicidal Momo WhatsApp*

Children are deceived easily due to the lack of composure and experience at their age, which is quite natural and hence, they are quite vulnerable. As parents we should keep a vigil and constant eye on our children and let them cope up with such challenges early on. Here are few precautionary tips to safeguard our child from such online games.

Try and speak to your child about these games and let them know why these games are unworthy to even indulge into. Talk to them positively about life and keep them positive at all times.

Keep a close eye on the gadgets and especially over messaging apps. Since these games are unable to launch apps, websites because of security reasons, they execute over messaging apps which are free and has easy access to children.

Try and delete numbers which are unknown and seems fishy.
Do not be part of any group where you are not known to Admin or the purpose of the group seems shady.
Explore privacy settings on WhatsApp to restrict from showing your number and details to others who are not added in your phone-book

Involve yourself with the child in daily routines. Children who remain glued to gadgets are more prone to get along with such deadly games. Hence try to restrict the gadgets and be attentive if your child is spending unusual time on messaging or other apps.

Apart from gadgets your child’s social media accounts could also be a medium of such games. For instance, facebook messenger and other messengers can also be used as potential access medium to target your children. Try and ensure that your child is chatting to people known to you and any unknown contacts are traced to rule out any such possibilities.
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