The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked all schools affiliated to it to take precautions against an online game called ‘Momo Challenge’ which, like the Blue Whale Challenge, has a series of tasks to be completed — the final of which is to commit suicide.
Like the Blue Whale Challenge, which had led to concerns last year, the game has led to a death in Argentina, but no such link has been found in India as of now. The Board has forwarded an advisory of the 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.
“It 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,” it said.
Cyber security expert Rakshit Tandon said the threat of the game 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.
In its advisory, MeitY said, “Unless there is 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… Monitor your children’s online and social media activity to ensure they are not engaging with this game.”