Parents are being warned about a disturbing suicide “game” spreading on WhatsApp, a popular messaging app owned by Facebook.
The viral challenge, dubbed “Momo,” encourages teens to add a contact via WhatsApp. The contact, whose identity is unknown, then urges the “players” to complete a series of challenges that ultimately lead to self-harm or suicide, according to News.com.au.
Those who do not follow the “orders” are told their personal information or compromising photos will be leaked.
Police in Argentina are currently investigating whether the “game” influenced a 12-year-old girl to end her life, the Buenos Aires Times reported.
According to the newspaper, the girl filmed her activities prior to hanging herself in her family’s backyard in the district of Escobar last month.
The “game” has been compared to the “Blue Whale Challenge,” which is believed to have led to reports of suicides in Russia and the U.S. Others have likened it to the fictional character “Slender Man.” Two 12-year-old girls attempted to kill a classmate in 2014 and said they did it to please him.
In July, Mexican officials released a warning about the disturbing challenge, reminding children to avoid talking to strangers on social media.
Authorities in Spain also took to Twitter to warn teens: “Do Not add ‘Momo!’”
The “Momo” profile picture on WhatsApp displays the sculpture of a woman with bulging eyes and long black hair. The sculpture was created by a special effects company in Japan, which is not associated with the suicide challenge.