The image known as "Momo", now apparently being used to torment and horrify children on messaging apps such as WhatsApp, has once again been the subject of a series of warnings.
Police have this week expressed concern about the image, which they say is being used by cyber criminals and other malicious actors to add people on messaging services apparently in an attempt to steal from them.
As with many things now referred to as "challenges" by newspapers, the new Momo trend is not really a challenge in the traditional sense, or even in the more recent interpretation of the word that has flourished through popular phenomena such as the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Instead, a more accurate descriptor might be a meme, though of course this is not one filled with the kind of fun or joy that word might normally be associated with. There is no real challenge involved, more just a diffuse set of different things people are using the image for.
The most chilling one of those – and that which police recently warned people about – is people using that image as their own profile picture and the name Momo adding people on WhatsApp. They will then send messages that range from the mildly strange to the genuinely unsettling, and even dangerous.
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TikTok is a new social media app and like the others 13 is the minimum age. It has recently made the news as the profiles created are public by default which does put children more at risk with online predators. It’s a social media app that gives users the opportunity to share 60 second short videos with friends, family or the entire world. Whilst the app itself its widely used and available please be mindful as this is the students latest go to app and due to its lack of privacy it could expose students to people and content that is potentially harmful. The providers of the app have not put in place the same protections that more established social media channels have either at this stage.
If adults are concerned or have any questions on how to approach the subject with their children, they can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit the NSPCC website (https://www.nspcc.org.uk/)
Children who are worried about their activity on apps or online games can contact Childline 24 hours a day, online (https://www.childline.org.uk/) and over the phone on 0800 1111
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