An Aberdeen mum has said she was left broken-hearted after her son woke up in the night fearing an online character would kill him.
Donna Bruce, 39, said her son Cohen, 4, was terrified as he feared the Momo character, which he had seen on screen, would come into his room and harm him.
Mrs Bruce, of Sheddocksley, said she has had a “serious talk” with Cohen, the youngest of three children, and he is now calm – but she wants other parents to be aware of the character’s influence.
Schools including Dales Park in Peterhead and Mile End in Aberdeen have issued direct warnings to parents urging them to be aware of the ‘Momo challenge’ and there have also been awareness messages published by Police Scotland, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils.
Reports say the Momo character appears part way through hacked children’s shows on platforms such as YouTube and gives children instructions, including self-harm.
Mrs Bruce said: “I was left broken-hearted by Cohen’s reaction to Momo. I won’t even say the word in the house as I’m worried how he will react.
“We heard him screaming in the middle of the night after he’d been sleeping for two hours.
“I spoke to him and he said ‘she’s going to come and kill me’.
“We had a serious talk and he’s calm now, but I am worried how it will impact on other children.”
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A YouTube spokesman said the claims were completely false: “We have not received any evidence of videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube. Content of this kind would be in violation of our policies and removed immediately.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Online challenges like Momo may cause concern for parents however these ‘challenges’ appear every few months and we’ve seen other examples over time.
“Parents should not panic but speak with their children about all aspects of their online world and explain potential dangers.
“Lots of online safety tips to help children stay safe are available on the Child Exploitation and Online Protection’s ThinkuKnow website at thinkuknow.co.uk