MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A dangerous and disturbing social media challenge encouraging children to commit dangerous acts, including physical harm and suicide has resurfaced.
The so-called "game" known as the "Momo Challenge" uses a creepy-looking avatar to communicate with children via the smartphone messaging application "WhatsApp" or through Facebook.
Police say children are encouraged to contact "Momo," and then asked to post photos or video of them committing violent acts.
The avatar blackmails children by telling them that she has damaging information on the players and will release it if they don't play the game.
"it's really bad," student Isabella Arayaa says.
Isabella was in school when she heard her friends talking about the "Momo Challenge."
"Momo, momo, momo's going to kill you."
"People were saying oh they make you turn on the microwave when your parents are asleep and stick a fork in an electric wire, " says Isabella.
Isabella's older sister and brother talked about it with their friends too.
It was even the topic of discussion at her dad's work.
"I was informed this morning from a co-worker that the "Momo Challenge" existed. I never heard of it and she showed me a video of what it was about and it was horrifying," says Isabella's dad, David Arrayaa.
"Hoax or not, we take it just as seriously," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Christopher Thomas.
Police are asking parents to monitor their children's use of social media and internet usage.
It's concerning enough that Miami-Dade police put out a lengthy warning, full of tips for parents on Friday.
#MDPD warns parents to be aware of the negative messages within the #Momo challenge. Please educate your children regarding the dangers. For more information please visit ⬇️ https://t.co/clSrohkTHR pic.twitter.com/yEWd0KVTnS
— Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) February 28, 2019
Cyber experts say the challenge is nothing but a hoax that aims at stealing personal data and torturing children physically and mentally.
Recently, even Kim Kardashian asked YouTube to help eliminate the challenge from its platform. YouTube responded, "After much review, we've seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the 'Momo Challenge' on YouTube."
Police are urging parents to talk to their children to never share personal data, photographs or phone numbers with anyone on the internet.
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