Schools across the UK are warning parents that the online Momo "challenge" is being spliced into YouTube videos of Peppa Pig and Fornite.
Momo is a meme that targets young children on social media, encouraging them to add a contact on messaging platform WhatsApp or online games, and then sends them graphic images and messages.
Police have expressed concern about the meme, which it says is being used by cyber criminals to harvest information.
This week, schools began publishing warnings on their websites and social media platforms explaining that they had been contacted by concerned parents.
The schools added that clips featuring the “Momo” character, who is symbolised by a woman with bulging eyes, appear in the middle of videos of children’s cartoon programme Peppa Pig and computer game Fortnite on YouTube and YouTube Kids - a version of the service oriented towards children.
On Tuesday, Haslingden Primary School, Rossendale, near Blackburn wrote in a post on Facebook: 'We have become increasingly aware of highly inappropriate videos circulating online and are being viewed by children across the school."
The school explained that one of the videos “starts innocently, like the start of a Peppa Pig episode” but quickly turns into “an altered version with violence and offensive language”.https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/momo-challenge-youtube-fortnite-peppa-pig-video-parents-a8799776.html
Parents Warned About the "Momo Challenge," a Dangerous New Form of Cyberbullying
This viral game reportedly encourages kids and teens to document acts of self-harm and even suicide. Now parents say it's popping up in their kids' YouTube videos.
It begins when teens are asked to add a new contact via WhatsApp. This user claims to be "Momo" and sends a disturbing photo of a woman with bulging eyes and animal-like features. (According to Heavy.com, this widely circulated image is actually a photo of a sculpture made by a Japanese special effects company; the company has reportedly denied any connection to the "Momo Challenge.")
As you can see, it's a creepy image. After sending the photo, the person or people behind the supposed "Momo" account then present the teen victim with a series of risky and dangerous dares to complete. According to multiple reports, these challenges start small and quickly escalate into potentially deadly acts.
If teens don't do as they're instructed, the "Momo" character allegedly threatens them with violence. The victims are also reportedly asked to provide photo proof of each completed dare or face retribution from "Momo." It's a manipulative form of cyberbullying, and according to a report in Buenos Aires Times, it may be linked to the tragic suicide of a 12-year-old girl.
There have also been reports of the "Momo" character popping up in YouTube videos aimed at children. One mother's viral Facebook post claimed her six-year-old daughter was targeted by the "Momo Challenge" while watching a Peppa Pig video on YouTube Kids.https://www.parents.com/news/parents-warned-about-the-momo-challenge-a-dangerous-new-form-of-cyberbullying/