Warning: This article discusses suicide and contains graphic content which may disturb some people.
New fears have been raised over an online suicide game encouraging children to self-harm after an eight-year-old boy was told to hold a knife to his neck.
His mother Lyn Dixon is urging other parents to be vigilant about what their children are doing online after her son became ensnared by the Momo Challenge.
- Parents warned over new online suicide game 'Momo'
- Police warning after man urges Kiwi kids to 'pour custard over themselves'
"He showed me an image of the face on my phone and said that she had told him to go into the kitchen drawer and take out a knife and put it into his neck," she told The Daily Express.
"We've told him it's a load of rubbish and there are bad people out there who do bad things but it's frightening, really frightening."
The game, dubbed 'Momo', has been around for years after emerging on the messaging application WhatsApp.
In the game, young people are encouraged to follow a series of challenges, culminating in taking their own lives. In much the same way, Momo players are reportedly threatened if they don't follow the game's orders.
The game begins with an anonymous controller sending disturbing images to the player over WhatsApp.
"It started with him not wanting to go upstairs on his own because it was dark up there," she said.
"He was terrified and wouldn't sleep in his own bed, and then we got to the bottom of it and we explained it wasn't real."
Ms Dixon says her son was scared for months after being exposed to the challenge.
The avatar for Momo is a haunting image of a woman with bulging eyes, taken from the work of Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, who has no connection to the game.
In October of last year, New Zealand Police urged parents to be vigilant after uncovering worrying posts on social media offering Kiwi kids rewards in exchange for them undertaking strange acts.
A man had been asking children aged between nine and 13 asked to participate in a 'game' that involved "gunging, sliming or pouring custard over themselves", police said.
The suicide of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina was allegedly linked to the game. The girl filmed a video on her phone shortly before she died.
It's believed the girl was encouraged to commit suicide, and police in Buenos Aires are investigating an 18-year-old teenager who allegedly contacted the 12-year-old.
The deaths of two Russian schoolgirls who fell to their death from the roof of a 14-storey apartment were also linked to the game.
Where to find help and support:
Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Samaritans - 0800 726 666
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)