The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has issued an advisory for parents who doubt their children are being tempted by the deadly internet suicide game, the Momo challenge.
The Momo challenge is an online suicide game like the 'Blue Whale Game' where participants receive instructions from an anonymous sender over the internet. They are then asked to perform whatever directions they are given, the last one is to take their own life in order to complete the challenge.
Earlier this year, the Momo challenge allegedly claimed two lives in West Bengal's Darjeeling district. While one of the victims was an 18-year-old boy, the other was a girl aged 26.
If a child becomes withdrawn from near and dear ones, seems to be in a low mood all the time and has visible marks such as deep cuts or wounds on any part of the body, then the child is likely to be hooked to Momo or any other online suicide game. The ministry has warned parents that in order to prevent their child from getting exposed to these challenges, they must monitor their child's internet activity including social media accounts. An influx of new phone numbers or email accounts is also an indicator of the challenge.
The ministry has advised parents to not even mention the name of the game unless they suspect their children know about it. Parents can also refer to the ministry's compilation of information about the game including symptoms to identify whether the child is hooked to the challenge and guidelines that can help a parent protect their child from the clutches of this dangerous online game.