Parents are complaining that the creepy “Momo” doll is still appearing on YouTube videos, even though the phenomena was found to be a malicious hoax.
The so-called Momo suicide challenge was feared to be targeting young people on social media and encouraging them to hurt themselves or friends. It took the form of a “doll figure with bulging eyes and a creepy grin”, reported the BBC.
The news prompted police forces and schools to issue warnings to parents across the world.
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But The New York Times says that experts now believe there are “no credible reports of children who have been meaningfully influenced by anyone convincing them to engage with a Momo challenge or driven to suicide by her likeness appearing in the middle of a Peppa Pig video”.
The UK Safer Internet Centre told The Guardian that it was “fake news”, adding: “Even though it’s done with best intentions, publicising this issue has only piqued curiosity among young people.”
The Samaritans and NSPCC also said the challenges are a hoax.
A Samaritans spokesperson said that stories about Momo “being highly publicised and starting a panic means vulnerable people get to know about it and that creates a risk”.
Nevertheless, the image of Momo is still popping up on videos online, including Peppa Pig clips, reported the Daily Mail over the weekend.
“YouTube has now responded by putting warnings on those videos it has been alerted to, but is not removing them,” says the newspaper.
Chris Skinner, senior online safety consultant at National Online Safety, said: “In most cases the Momo affected videos have been removed; however, some do remain. Parents should continue to supervise children's online activities.
“When tasks as seemingly as innocuous as watching Peppa Pig on YouTube can go wrong, it is simply not advisable to allow young children unsupervised access to the internet.”
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