Mumbai: In the wake of the latest trend ‘Kiki Challenge’, also known as ‘In my feelings’ challenge turning out to be dangerous, more and more online games which can cause bodily harm has been catching the eye of the netizens. A new addition to this online menace is the ‘Momo challenge’, wherein a WhatsApp text gives dares to the users, which might be of criminal nature or might cause bodily harms. Some of these games include ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, ‘Ice and Salt Challenge’ and ‘Cinnamon Challenge’. The police have started spreading awareness among the users, mainly comprising teenagers and college students.
With the impact of social media hardly leaving any corners of the world untouched, the scare of ‘challenges’ continue to haunt the social media circuits, especially the worried parents of the users. One of the biggest challenges in front of the city police in combating such online games is the fact they are played between closed knit groups, which makes it difficult for the police to block or ban the game due to lack of the technological know-how. “It is believed these online games were communicated on a one-on-one communication through encrypted/ secretive communication links which makes it very difficult to identify, intercept and analyse the contents,” said a senior cyber police official requesting anonymity.
The latest addition of ‘Momo Challenge’ is about a social media account interacting with the users and daring them to perform certain activities, failing to which ‘Momo’ would threaten them with a violent and horrific image. Calling this ‘Momo Challenge’ a hoax, cybercrime expert claim this platform is nothing more than a scam to retrieve personal information of the user, only to misuse it later.
The police have asked the parents to keep an eye on their children and to monitor every single internet activity which he/she might get into. Suggestions to keep a child actively busy in other activities can help them use the adrenaline rush in right places instead of engaging in such games. Brijesh Singh, Inspector General of police, cyber, said, “The first thing in order to stop the participation of teenagers in such games is for the parents to identify the likely signs of harm and open a dialogue with their children to generate awareness. The parents are also suggested to keep in touch with the child’s peer group as they are the first ones to notice any behavioural changes.”
Cybercrime expert Prashant Mali commented on the recent rage in context with the Momo Challenge, “I reiterate the need for Online Gaming / Gaming Regulator in India. I had persuaded the same during the Blue Whale challenge rage. Gaming in India should be regulated matching cultural ethos and awareness in the society and schools about dangers. Every game cricket, hockey, kabaddi has been regulated, then why not computer games? We can save some deaths for sure.”
The lethal online games like Momo Challenge, Blue Whale Challenge, Ice and Salt Challenge, Cinnamon Challenge and the Choking Challenge are causing bodily harms to the ones performing it for the ‘needless’ adrenaline rush. The sharing of the link process might start as a friend from one country challenging unknown / known person sitting in another country, which may or may not have a connection between the duo, making it all the more anxious if the person given the challenge might outdo or outperform. The various social networking platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are being used to share the links.