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Warn our children against suicidal games online

March 02, 2019 - Saturday 7:03 PM by Jerico Javier

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Parents of 11-year-old Chlyv Jasper “CJ” Santos, a grade six student in Quezon City, strongly believe their son committed suicide last Thursday by consuming at least 20 tablets of gout medicine due to “suicidal online games” Momo challenge and Blue Whale challenge.

Prior to his death, CJ reportedly told his parents that one of his classmates attempted to commit suicide by slitting his wrist -- but survived. The 11-year-old boy’s Facebook account was also seen by his parents exchanging suicidal games — Momo Challenge and Blue Whale Challenge, with his classmates.

In United Kingdom, police and schools are issuing warnings to parents on social media after the “Momo challenge” gained international recognition in several parts of the world.

According to CBS news based in UK, “When children participate in the challenge, they contact a stranger concealing themself as ‘Momo’ using a creepy image and communicate primarily through Whatsapp. Momo encourages a participant to complete various tasks if they want to avoid being cursed.” Some task include self harm, which Momo ask the participants to provide photographic evidence in order to continue the game. Ultimately, the game ends with Momo telling the participant to take their own life and record it for social media.”

The CBS news article added that Momo challenge is eerily similar to the “Blue Whale” challenge, which gained popularity in 2017 and allegedly led to deaths of two teenagers in the US as well as others in Russia, Brazil, and half dozen other countries.

In my interview with Agent Victor Lorenzo, executive officer of National Bureau of Investigation-Cybercrime Division, CJ’s case, if proven, could be the first in the Philippines. Although there is no concrete evidence yet, the official is not discounting the possibility that the child committed suicide due to the said online games.

Lorenzo warned parents to monitor their children especially this age of smartphones and the internet. “The only antidote to this threat is communication. We must communicate to our children and let us try to realize that virtual reality is as real as physical reality,” Lorenzo told this writer.

Danger is everywhere. After the instructional hidden video for suicide on YouTube kids, then there are the “suicidal” online games encouraging your children to kill themselves. Let’s check our children, keep them safe.