Spring Hope, N.C. – The rumor of a disturbing suicide challenge is spreading across the country and right here in the Triangle.
On Wednesday, local officials consulted social media to educate parents about the "Momo Challenge" for children and adolescents.
Durham Emergency Communications sent an alert to parents, saying, "Talk to your children and inform them of the appropriate web content and encourage them to communicate openly what they are living with. Tell them why some of these challenges are dangerous. "
Durham officials have announced that the Momo Challenge, which presents the image of a skinny-eyed woman and encourages young users to adopt dangerous behaviors, including suicide, s & # 39; It is extended to YouTube, YouTube Kids, WhatsApp, Fortnite and Facebook.
Momo is originally a Japanese statue. The challenge is to meet Momo by following a series of instructions, which may include harming others or yourself. The Momo Challenge has been associated with the death of a girl in Argentina, but none in the United States.
At Spring Hope Elementary School, parents told police that their children had reported the disturbing image "appeared" on some YouTube videos.
On Wednesday, YouTube said, "We have not seen any recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube – videos promoting harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies."
Google has also released a statement on the challenge.
Officials believe the challenge has been around since 2018, but has recently been integrated with some programs viewed by children and sent via text messaging apps like WhatsApp.
Although the problem may be prevalent among teens, parents worry that it also affects much younger children.
The Spring Hope Police Service posted on Facebook on Wednesday that Spring Hope Elementary School had informed parents of this challenge.
According to the Spring Hope Police, they also received a report stating that a link had been sent to someone to participate in the challenge.
"Although the police department does not know if the challenge is real or whether it is a hoax, it is important to educate parents about the potential danger of the report and of" the report ". encourage them to monitor their children's social media and internet activities, "reads.