(Jamaica Observer) The Ministry of Education has moved to warn educators about the so-called Momo Challenge encouraging children to engage in increasingly terrifying and destructive behaviour, culminating with suicide.
The challenge, which has gone viral, asks children to send a WhatsApp text to a certain number, ostensibly Momo’s, who then instructs them to complete a series of increasingly dangerous tasks, starting with something innocent, like watching a horror movie late at night, and ending with a call for children to harm themselves or take their own lives. Failure to complete the tasks results in threats of violence or personal information being leaked.
In another version, Internet trolls edit otherwise kid-friendly YouTube videos such as Peppa Pig and the computer game Fortnite to include images of Momo, violence, offensive language, and instructions to self-harm.
Momo is represented by a gaunt face with bulging eyes, matted hair and wraithlike limbs.
In a circular addressed to regional directors, school board chairs, and principals of all public and private educational institutions, Acting Chief Education Officer Winsome Berry warns the stakeholders to be vigilant in their supervision of children to prevent them from falling prey.
“The video usually starts innocently, like the start of a Peppa Pig episode, but quickly turns into an altered version with violence and offensive language. Please help us to educate our parents about this situation so that they can be vigilant in the supervision our children, ensuring they do not become victims,” Berry said in the circular.
Individual schools have also issued advisories to parents.
According to news reports from the US, several children in that country have reported coming in contact with the altered content.