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The Momo challenge character
The Momo challenge character

‘Momo Challenge’: Cork schools issue alert

GARDAÍ and school principals in Cork have warned parents to be alert to a cyberbullying game, ‘The Momo Challenge’, which they say targets young children and encourages self-harm.

Concerns about the game and its potential impact on children have been raised worldwide in recent weeks.

The challenge circulates on social media and gaming platforms and targets children and vulnerable people. 

Concerns about the cyberbullying game have spread through primary schools in Cork and a number of principals have issued text messages to parents warning of its dangers.

The Momo challenge character
The Momo challenge character

A text message from one primary school yesterday asked parents to supervise their children’s online activity more closely.

“Gardaí say that the challenge is present across multiple platforms such as Roblox, Tik Tok & WhatsApp and targets children and vulnerable people,” the message said.

A Cork principal told the Echo that the game is a “frightening” tool.

He urged parents to be vigilant and to monitor their children’s screen time.

“While parents may feel their child is safe playing on an innocent app, this game could potentially pop up and the child could engage with it.

“It’s a frightening thing,” he added.

Cork city Garda sergeant Peter Murphy said that gardaí will be closely monitoring the situation.

“In line with the advice being given nationally, we would urge parents, teachers and people with responsibility for young people to ensure they are safe online.”

University College Cork lecturer in criminology, Dr James Cuffe, said teenagers will be drawn to such social media events out of sheer curiosity and a penchant for having a good scare.

“We must be careful to distinguish between a good enjoyable scare — which is fine — or a worrying influence on a child that is too young to fully comprehend, or a child that is vulnerable,” he added.

“If a child is vulnerable for whatever reason, we must, of course, be watchful,” he said on RTÉ.