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No evidence 'Momo challenge' is a threat to children, UK parliament hears


Police have warned parents of the dangers of the Momo Challenge.

Police have warned parents of the dangers of the Momo Challenge.

Police have warned parents of the dangers of the Momo Challenge.

A British minister has said there is no confirmed evidence the so-called Momo challenge is posing a threat to children.

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom pointed to children's charities saying reports of a ghoulish figure being connected to messages urging self-harm and suicide is a hoax.

The phenomenon was raised by Tory MP Douglas Ross (Moray), who asked for a debate on online safety after being contacted by worried constituents.

He said: "Can we have a debate and allow the Government to explain what more we can do to protect and educate young people about the scourge of these online dangers?"

The Momo game recently made headlines across Ireland and the UK after news that it had allegedly reached young children on social media.

It has been linked to a number of deaths in other countries and has lead to fresh concerns that it is becoming popular amongst children and teenagers here.

Police in Northern Ireland also issued a warning saying "this game conceals itself within other harmless looking games played by our kids! There has also been reports of parts of the game being viewable on YouTube".

Mrs Leadsom said the "appalling" challenge was "one the Government is extremely concerned about" and new laws were being drawn up to force internet companies to act to protect vulnerable users, including children.

However, the Commons Leader also flagged up how charities were telling her there was "no confirmed evidence" Momo had led any children in the UK to self-harm.

She said: "We've been very clear that more needs to be done to protect young people online, including from cyber-bullying and suicide and self-harm content, and internet companies do have a responsibility to their users.

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"The forthcoming online harms white paper will set out a range of legislative and non-legislative measures to keep UK users safe online.

"In the case of Momo, organisations including the Samaritans, the NSPCC and the Safer Internet Centre have said there is no confirmed evidence the Momo phenomenon is posing a threat to British children."

Alex Cooney, chief executive of CyberSafe Ireland previously told Independent.ie that "parents need to be aware of what their kids are looking at and a game like this brings that home and makes it clear."

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