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  1. ITV Report

'No evidence Momo challenge linked to suicides anywhere in the world'

The character said to have appeared in the videos. Credit: Instagram

There is no evidence that the so-called Momo challenge has been linked to any suicide anywhere in the world, the Samaritans has said.

The comments come on the same day that the Leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, branded it a hoax and said there is no confirmed evidence that the "challenge" is posing a threat to British children.

The Momo challenge has hit headlines in recent days after claims that the character it features - which has a disfigured face with stretched features attached to a bird’s body - was asking would-be participants to contact "her" over WhatsApp and carry out a series of challenges - the final one being suicide, according to the Parentzone website.

It was further claimed that the messages urging self-harm and suicide had been appearing in children's YouTube videos such as Peppa Pig.

YouTube has said it had not received any evidence of the challenge on its site.

No links or videos that violate the online giant’s guidelines or promote the Momo challenge have been flagged with the company.

Some schools warned parents the Momo challenge is appearing in online videos. Credit: PA

Following fears that children could come to harm, some schools began warning parents an online suicide game may be making its way into children’s online videos.

A number of institutions across the country posted alerts on their social media pages, telling parents of the "highly inappropriate" videos.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland also issued a warning, but admitted that "no official complaints" had been made to them.

After these warnings were made, charities such as Samaritans have spoken out, saying that "there is no evidence" that the Momo challenge has "links to suicides anywhere in the world".

Lorna Fraser from the charity added that reporting of the fears was in fact drawing more attention to it, with parents asking their children if they had seen the video, and then the children searching for it online in a bid to find out more.

Ms Fraser urged parents to instead discuss the importance of online safety with their children, and advise them on how to use the internet appropriately.

The Samaritans urges parents to talk to their children about staying safe online. Credit: PA

Top tips on how to keep your children safe online

  • Be approachable: Let them know you are always there to help if they get into trouble online. Discuss with your child the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, messages, images and behaviours.
  • Explore online together: Ask your children to show you what they like to do online, and show an interest.
  • Talk to them about online friendships: Find out what sites they go to and what they know about their online friends.
  • Discuss 'personal information': Be clear about personal information and what kind of things are dangerous to share with people they don't know such as addresses, name of school and phone numbers.
  • Teach them about online grooming: Talk to young people about grooming as you would describe 'stranger danger'. Tell them how easy it is to pretend to be someone else online. For older children, go to Think You Know for useful resources.
  • Agree on boundaries: Set rules about when and for how long they can go online, the websites they can visit,and what is appropriate.
  • If you are in distress or need some support, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 116 123 or through their website.