The Momo challenge is showing up on YouTube videos of Peppa Pig and Fortnite. Momo is a meme that is targeting young children in social media. It is encouraging children to add a contact on WhatsApp or online games, and then sends them graphic images and messages.
The clips featuring the “Momo” character, who is symbolized by a woman with bulging eyes, appear in the middle of videos of children’s cartoon program Peppa Pig and computer game Fortnite on YouTube and YouTube Kids - a version of the service oriented towards children. The video starts with an episode of Peppa Pig and Fortnite but then turns into violence and offensive language. The video encourages children to do life threatening tasks, from turns on the gas or taking tablets, and not telling their parents.
Authorities in Northern Ireland have said: "Even basic open source research suggests that 'Momo' is run by hackers who are looking for personal information A 'curse contact' sends a number and tells you to contact them on Whatsapp. One video of such interaction in America shows an ominous sounding voice recording being sent to a child telling them to take a knife to their own throat. Another message threatens family if the ‘challenge’ isn’t completed.
A spokesman for YouTube said: “Contrary to press reports, we have not received any links to videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube. “Content of this kind would be in violation of our policies and removed immediately.” National Online Safety (NOS), a group of online safety experts that provides advice for schools school staff, parents, and children has published a list of tips to help parents and carers learn more about Momo in order to protect their children. ****PLEASE MONITOR WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING ONLINE****