Gardaí have issued a warning to parents about a so-called ‘Momo’ challenge – an online social media phenomenon that is encouraging children to self-harm.
Children and young people are being sent messages by an unknown contact with the creepy ‘Momo’ doll face set as its profile picture.
Once the contact is added, they are sent violent images and encouraged to self-harm.
The PSNI has said that this is an attempt by hackers to harvest personal information .
Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte said that it is frightening and concerning that young children are being subjected to this social media ‘challenge’.
“I am urging parents to be vigilant to their son or daughter’s online activity at this time,” said the Fianna Fáil TD.
Deputy Rabbitte also reiterated calls for a Digital Safety Commissioner in light of the ‘Momo challenge’.
“It is now 14 months since I called for the establishment of a Digital Safety Commissioner and it appears we are no closer to this role being put in place. We have seen worrying trends in social media, such as the current ‘game’. What will it be next and how long do we have to wait for the government to act?
“As a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs it is paramount we make the online space a safer environment for children. The digital age of consent, at 16, must be steadfast as is the necessity of a commissioner with responsibility for the area.
“We now know we cannot rely on social media sites to regulate themselves. We need to prioritise children’s and public safety, and the first step towards creating a safe online society is to establish a Digital Safety Commissioner,” said Deputy Rabbitte.