Odisha Police has issued an advisory to parents and teachers to guard children against the deadly 'Momo Challenge' game.
The crime branch advisory issued on Saturday night has also urged the media not to publish any unverified news and connect any death or suicide to the game without proper verification, a senior police official said on Sunday.
The online game, featuring a grotesque image of a girl with her distorted face and bulging eyes, has made headway in several countries and is similar to last year's killer 'Blue Whale Challenge'.
"On social media, a game with the name 'Momo Challenge' is being circulated by some mischievous and criminal minded people. This game instigates people, especially children to commit suicide as final task. Some innocent people around the world have fallen prey to this game," the advisory said.
There is need for parents and teachers to be aware of this threat and save children from it. Unknown links appearing on WhatsApp should be deleted immediately, it said.
Asking parents to keep a close watch on the behavior of children, the advisory said they should monitor the child's online and social media activity, and if need be, install a cyber or mobile parenting software.
Regarding the signs and symptoms of victims of the game, it said they become withdrawn from friends and family, appear unhappy and worried, and show sudden outbursts of anger and loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy.
In its advice to teachers, the police said they should keep a close watch on the behaviour of students and keep the parents informed about children, who are suspected to be playing the game.
The teachers should also conduct random checks of mobile phones of the students and take necessary steps if required, the crime branch advisory added.