MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Education (DepEd) has urged parents to be more mindful of their children's digital activities following reports of an online game which encourages children to do disturbing tasks that may lead to suicide.
In a statement released Thursday, the DepEd advised parents to maintain open communication with their children and educate them about responsible online behavior to avoid threats.
"Parents and guardians are urged to maintain an open communication with their children, educate them about responsible online behavior, monitor what they access online, and help them understand that their parents and guardians are the foremost people they can trust about matters that make them feel uncomfortable, coerced, or unsafe," DepEd said.
The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) also urged parents to be vigilant and monitor their children’s online activities.
“It boils down pa rin sa (It still boils down to) parenting. It’s not enough na mabilhan natin ng gadgets ang mga anak natin (that we buy our children gadgets). Nandoon pa rin ang patnubay ng isang magulang (Parents still have to give guidance),” PNP-ACG chief Police Brig. Gen. Marni Marcos said.
Marcos said web security experts referred to the Momo challenge as something sensationalized in media reports and social media, causing “moral panic.”
Despite the so-called sensationalism, Marcos said parents and guardians should be alert and be with children while they use their gadgets.
The public is advised to report any incident related to the “Momo Challenge” by calling the PNP-ACG hotline 414-1560 or visiting the nearest police station.
The statements came after reports of an online "Momo Challenge" that purportedly encouraged children to do self-harm and ultimately commit suicide.
At least two parents from the Philippines have also claimed their children became suicidal allegedly after watching videos related to the Momo Challenge.
Authorities have already called on parents to be aware of such videos being spread on internet platforms.
Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube also said there were no videos on its platform that promote the online game.
-- With reports from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News