The IT Ministry has issued an advisory against the deadly 'momo challenge', asking parents and guardians to protect children from the game which lures players into a series of violent acts, ending with a suicide dare.
"The momo challenge consists of a variety of self-harming dares which becomes increasingly risky as the game progresses and it finally ends with suicide challenge," IT Ministry's advisory said.
It noted that the game has gone viral on social media platforms like WhatsApp.
The advisory asks people to watch out for unusual signs and symptoms in children including social withdrawal, low mood, sudden outbursts of anger and loss of interest in routine activities.
It also asks parents to look out for "visible marks like deep cuts or wounds on any part of the body of the child", as warning signs.
The advisory gives over half a dozen tips on shielding children from the game. These include engagement with kids to identify any signs of distress. It also asks parent to monitor children's online and social media activity to ensure they are not indulging in the game. The advisory suggests installing effective cyber and mobile parenting software that can track online activities of children.
"Keep your eyes open for...unusually secretive behaviour, mostly related to their online activity...a sudden increase in the time they spend online, especially social media...their device suddenly has many new phone numbers and email contacts," said the advisory issued earlier this week.
The game lures player, to add unknown contacts on WhatsApp by the name of 'Momo'. Once the contact is added, the image of a terrifying Japanese 'Momo' doll with bulging eyes appears in contact. "The game controller then entices player to perform a series of challenges...," the advisory said..
The deadly game, featuring a grotesque image of a girl with bulging eyes, has made inroads into many countries and is reminiscent of last year's killer 'Blue Whale Challenge', which too had triggered a Government advisory in September 2017.
The West Bengal CID has said it is probing cases of alleged suicide blamed on online game 'Momo Challenge', and Association of Heads of ICSE schools in West Bengal too has asked all member schools to urge parents to keep a watch on their children.
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