Parents’ role vital in tackling Momo Challenge

THROWING A PUNCH 

  • Parents must encourage kids to take up creative activities or sports rather than waste time on the Net
  • The unknown link coming to a WhatsApp number should be deleted immediately
  • Cyber security needs to be upgraded and the government must be ready for that

Bhubaneswar: The recent deaths of two persons who were playing the deadly ‘Momo Challenge’ game have prompted the police to issue an advisory alerting parents and teachers on the dangers of the game.

Police said it is no surprise that city youths who are nowadays hooked to their cell phones almost throughout the day are getting drawn to the game.

Abhinab Das, an expert in gaming from the city, said the Momo Challenge is similar to the Blue Whale Game which targets mentally vulnerable teenagers. Almost everyone is a social media addict now. Momo is a social media account that makes one perform life threatening tasks, and takes away your life in the final task just like the Blue Whale Game.

Momo Challenge has a scary doll theme. If you don’t accomplish the task the doll will scare you. It is a hoax that basically steals your information. The targets are basically the ones who have weak minds and have suicidal tendencies.

The creator of this challenge targets mentally vulnerable minds. It is very important for parents to regularly keep an eye on children as they might be a victim of this game. They must always motivate kids so that they don’t feel low.

Das said there are many ways to commit crimes and Momo Challenge is one of them. Kids having weak minds do not know what’s happening to their lives as they are in a virtual world. So kids must be regularly monitored by parents, he added.

Teenagers don’t have the maturity to make out what’s right and what’s wrong, but if we see people above 19 committing suicide, that means they are very depressed, he said. If you ask me, I will obviously say what a foolish game it is, Das added.

Sarojini Brahma, a parent, said, “Normally children get attached to something due to curiosity, and then they find it difficult to escape. As a parent, I can say we must encourage kids to take up creative activities or sports rather than waste time on the Net.”

Cyber expert Dibakar Mohanty said such games first attract the youths before throwing challenges. To avoid that, parents must stop mobile phone use especially for kids below 18, and encourage them to play outdoor games.

“The government can also try to block apps. Cyber security needs to be upgraded and the government must be ready for that. The unknown link coming to a WhatsApp number should be deleted immediately. Invitations from unknown numbers through WhatsApp must be blocked,” he added.

Ashok Dayal, a doctor and child expert, said addiction is dangerous and difficult to cure. The psychological damage that can occur is also a concern if we try to forcibly eliminate it. They must be handled carefully. Parents should be alert, and if they find children to be secretive in online activity, and if there is a sudden increase in time spent on social media, they should take counter measures. They should also keep an eye on the devices used by children for new phone numbers and email contacts, Dayal added.