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No evidence of any threat to children from ‘Momo challenge’, says minister | UK News



There is no evidence the so-called “Momo challenge” poses any threat to British children, a minister has said.

Speaking in the Commons, Andrea Leadsom pointed out that children’s charities have said reports of a ghoulish figure being linked to messages urging recipients to self-harm or take their own lives are a hoax.

Conservative MP Douglas Ross raised the matter on Wednesday, asking for a debate on online safety following messages from worried constituents.

He said: “Can we have a debate and allow the government to explain what more we can do to protect and educate young people about the scourge of these online dangers?”

It comes after a report in The Guardian detailed how the “moral panic” has spread online, fuelled by viral news stories and warnings from police forces and schools.

Andrea Leadsom
Andrea Leadsom said the ‘appalling’ challenge was ‘one the government is extremely concerned about’

Commons leader Mrs Leadsom said the “appalling” challenge was “one the government is extremely concerned about”, adding ministers were drawing up legislation to compel internet companies to take action to safeguard vulnerable users, particularly children.

She said charities had told her there was “no confirmed evidence” it had caused any children in the UK to self-harm.

Mrs Leadsom said: “We’ve been very clear that more needs to be done to protect young people online, including from cyber-bullying and suicide and self-harm content, and internet companies do have a responsibility to their users.

“The forthcoming online harms white paper will set out a range of legislative and non-legislative measures to keep UK users safe online.

“In the case of Momo, organisations including the Samaritans, the NSPCC and the Safer Internet Centre have said there is no confirmed evidence the Momo phenomenon is posing a threat to British children.”

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