Terrifying ‘game’ sweeps internet
PARENTS have been warned over a terrifying new "challenge" sweeping the internet, which has been linked to the suicide of a young girl.
The online game, known as Momo, has spread to several social media platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube.
It's been linked to other infamous online "legends" like Slenderman and Blue Whale, which led young people to commit suicide and attempted murder.
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WHAT IS MOMO?
Authorities are investigating after a 12-year-old girl was found dead in her backyard near Buenos Aires, Argentina, after reportedly texting a figure called Momo on WhatsApp.
After examining the girl's phone, police are now questioning an 18-year-old the girl allegedly met on social media, local media reports.
"The phone has been hacked to find footage and WhatsApp chats, and now the alleged adolescent with whom she exchanged those messages is being sought," police said in a statement.
They believe the teenager's intention was to "upload the video to social media as part of a challenge, crediting the Momo game" for the suicide.
The game involves challenging people to communicate with an unknown number.
The shadowy controller behind the account sends users violent images, followed by threats if the player refuses to follow the game's "orders".
The Momo profile itself features a disturbing image of a distorted young woman, with eyes bulging out of their sockets, straggly black hair and bird legs. It was created by Japanese special effects company Link Factory.
It's not the first "game" of its kind to target vulnerable teenagers and threaten them.
The Blue Whale game, and the legend of the Slenderman, have had similarly tragic outcomes.
THE LEGEND OF SLENDERMAN
It all started as a dark challenge on an internet forum: who can create the most terrifying paranormal images on Photoshop?
The challenge quickly caught on, and soon, a character of unmistakeable terror was born. A fictional character, sure, but certainly one disturbing enough to put Stephen King and the Brothers Grimm out of business.
But a few years later, what started out as an innocent Photoshop challenge would soon become a real-life nightmare, after a pair of 12-year-old girls allegedly lured a classmate into the forest, where they held down and stabbed her 19 times.
In 2014, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, a pair of 12-year-old girls from Wisconsin, allegedly lured their classmate, Payton Leutner, into the woods for a game of hide-and-seek.
Once they were there, they stabbed her repeatedly with a knife.
After leaving her with 19 wounds, the girls left her there to die, but miraculously, Payton managed to crawl out of the woods, where a cyclist discovered her lying in her own blood on the side of the road.
One of the wounds came within a millimetre of piercing a major artery near her heart.
The victim later told United States media she'd "sensed something was wrong" in the forest, and tried to back away, but the girls had allegedly held her down.
Geyser's notebooks were shown to the court, revealing eerie scribbles of the Slender Man and a list of supplies she believed she would need to carry out the attack.
It's been alleged the attack was carefully planned over five months.
There were conflicting reports as to what may have motivated such a horrific crime, but they all centre around the legend.
When questioned, the girls claimed they did it in the name of the Slenderman.
The girls reportedly claimed murdering Payton would bring them to the figure, believing it would earn them a place in his "mansion in the woods", where they would be under his protection. Police documents also allege the murder was partly to prove his existence.
Other reports suggest the girls did it out of fear. Geyser's lawyer told a pre-trial hearing in Waukesha, Wisconsin, that the then 13-year-old believed her family would be killed "in three seconds" if she didn't carry out the attack.
A Hollywood film has been made about the incident, and is set for release next week.
BLUE WHALE 'GAME' KILLS 130 TEENS
'Blue Whale' is a sick suicide game that has been linked to at least 130 teen deaths in Russia.
It involves teens completing a series of daily tasks for 50 consecutive days.
Some of the more innocent "tasks" given to teens include watching horror movies all day, and waking themselves at 4.20am, but gradually get more extreme.
But on the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game reportedly instruct the youngsters to commit suicide.
Investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported last year: "We have counted 130 suicides of children that took place between November 2015 to April 2016.
"Almost all these children were members of the same internet groups and lived in good, happy families."
It went on: "We know absolutely for sure is that adults are working with children, with the help of knowledge of their habits and passions, using their favourite language and culture.
"They know psychology well, they convince girls that they are 'fat', tell boys that they are 'losers' in this world.
"And that there is another world and they will be among the chosen."
• If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.