Schools, police and media told to stop promoting Momo hoax

Children’s charities say warnings about online suicide challenge have done more harm than good

Britain’s media, schools and police forces were told on Thursday to stop promoting an online hoax about the so-called Momo challenge, amid fears that unjustified warnings about the supposed phenomenon risked doing more harm than good.

The Momo challenge centres on false claims that a mysterious character is using WhatsApp messages to encourage children to kill themselves. After it moved from the fringes of the internet to the mass media, interventions from authority figures were blamed for creating a full-blown moral panic – and genuine fear among children.

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Tom Watson calls for crackdown on in-game gambling

Features such as loot boxes need tighter regulation, says deputy Labour leader

Gambling-style features in computer games, which encourage players to pay for items such as loot boxes that may be worth very little, warrant stricter oversight by the Gambling Commission to prevent them becoming a “gateway” to betting addiction, Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said.

Speaking as he proposed much tighter controls on online gambling, including caps on the amount that consumers can gamble, Watson said not enough was being done to deal with gambling through games.

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