Amid rising fear over the spread of deadly 'Momo Challenge' among the students – an online game that asks players to take up dangerous tasks including attempting suicide, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular asking all schools affiliated to it to take precautions and measures to minimise the risks.
Amid rising fear over the spread of deadly ‘Momo Challenge’ among the students – an online game that asks players to take up dangerous tasks including attempting suicide, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular asking all schools affiliated to it to take precautions and measures to minimise the risks. According to a report in The Indian Express, the CBSE has forwarded an advisory of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) which provides measures on “how to protect your child” from the game.
“In the game, members are challenged to communicate with unknown numbers. The game consists of a variety of self-harming dares which become increasingly risky as the game progresses and it finally ends with a suicide challenge. It involves challenges that encourage teenagers/children/any other user to engage in a series of violent acts as part of the challenges,” the CBSE said in its circular dated September 19.
The circular noted that the controller of the game inspires teenagers/children/any other user to add unknown contacts on WhatsApp by the name of ‘Momo’. “Once the contact is added, the image of ‘terrifying Japanese Momo doll’… appears in contact. The game controller that entices players to perform a series of challenges, and those playing the game are threatened with violent images, audio and video, if they don’t follow instructions.”
The MeitY in its advisory asked parents to monitor their children’s online and social media activity to prevent them from getting engaged in the game. “Unless there is a reason to believe your child already knows of or has played the game, don’t discuss about the Blue Whale game. By doing so, you increase the chance that your child will search for it on their own,” it said.
The ‘Momo Challenge’ is an online game that is similar to the ‘Blue Whale game’ that had claimed many lives. The game gains popularity because of its risky tasks that are given to players by the controller. The game is a form of cyber-bullying that spreads through social media platforms and mobile phones. It had gained public attention in July earlier this year when it was noticed by a YouTube user with a large following. In India, the matter was first reported in August when a girl from West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri claimed to receive a WhatsApp request from an unknown number with a scary profile picture asking her to play the game.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity expert Rakshit Tandon has said that the ‘Momo Challenge’ threat in the country had died down. “Here we got around four-five cases, but they were of children bullying their classmates, rather than any serious threat,” he said.