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‘Why do you want children to lose their innocence so soon?’ - Readers react to the Momo challenge

PUBLISHED: 14:41 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 27 February 2019

The avatar linked to the Momo 'suicide challenge'. Schools in Norfolk have warned parents about the challenge. Picture: Supplied

The avatar linked to the Momo 'suicide challenge'. Schools in Norfolk have warned parents about the challenge. Picture: Supplied

Supplied

A Norfolk primary school has joined a public outcry of concern over a YouTube and WhatsApp phenomenon known as the Momo challenge.

Parents at a Norfolk school have been warned about the Momo challenge on WhatsApp and YouTube. Photo: Getty ImagesParents at a Norfolk school have been warned about the Momo challenge on WhatsApp and YouTube. Photo: Getty Images

The ‘game’ is most commonly known as operating from a WhatsApp contact but there have also been recent reports of content being covertly spliced into YouTube videos aimed at children.

The account and videos are said to target children with violent images and instructions to harm themselves.

This is how our readers have reacted to our coverage of the national story after St William’s Primary School, in Thorpe St Andrew, sent a message to parents about the viral ‘game’.

Some expressed concern about how the internet has impacted morality boundaries and argued for tighter restrictions on what children have access to.

Richard Kozlowski said: “Today with the flick of a thumb all ages can gain access to stuff that would have freaked most of us teens out back in the day.

“Our children are being affected by not only the access to but being targeted by online video that has traumatic life changing consequences. Keep children as children longer. If you feel this is laughable ask yourself a question, ‘why do you want children to lose their innocence so soon?’”

Matthew Knight condemned those who make and distribute disturbing content, saying: “Call on MPs to act and legislate against these types of vile video campaigns that do so much damage.

“Call for the makers to be prosecuted for manslaughter for any death associated with this filth. For inciting violence and self harm.

“Those who promote such videos must be held to account. They are putting children’s lives in danger intentionally. They must be held to account.”

Others called for the social media companies who host such material to be held to account.

Ian De commented: “Linked to WhatsApp-YouTube-Instagram-Facebook etc etc.....Where is their culpability?....

“Oh that’s right, the government do not seem to think ‘they’ have any.”

Many emphasised the general importance of internet safety for children.

One person commented: “If you have a child or younger sibling who is on technology, please always double check they know how to be safe online.”

Hannah Barker said: “Instead of focussing in on a story created to spread fear, why aren’t we just focusing on good general internet safety.”

Much of the reaction focused on the disturbing image that is used at the avatar for the ‘Momo challenge’, with adults expressing their own fear.

Luke Farnham said: “Every day I have to forget her face again, so god knows what children have to go through.”

Claire Raven added: “It’s giving me nightmares.”

Nick Barker pointed out that the image used by the Momo account is appropriated from a Japanese artist’s sculpture - which has nothing to do with the sinister intentions of the video content.

He said: “I think it’s good that people are aware of this but for anyone wondering where this character comes from, it is a sculpture by Midori Hayashi and is no way connected to the Momo challenge. It’s just some sicko abusing someone’s art.”

Jay Musalik also said: “The image is just the work of the Japanese artist Midori Hayashi. Nothing too sinister.

“Someone’s unfortunately stolen the images and are now tarnishing them.”

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