5 September 2018

Mykhailo Honcharov advises on what one should do if he or she has found Momo on his or her child’s smart phone

Media report on Momo, new dangerous game involving teens on the heels of Blue Whale (Siniy Kit). Strangers send to a child WhatsApp messages containing violent scenes and cruel tasks culminating with suicide.

Drozdova & Partners law firm lawyer Mr Mykhailo Honcharov has told in his interview to Sehodnia newspaper about right actions to be taken by parents who found this monster on the smart phone of their child.

‘From a legal perspective, mailing out messages with dangerous content to a teen constitutes a crime (Incitement to suicide) in accordance with Article 120 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code,’ the lawyer has pointed out. ‘The commission of such a crime against a minor is an aggravating circumstance and leads to imprisonment for a period of seven to ten years.’ The expert has also specified that it is the bodies of the National Police who conduct pre-trial investigation into such offences in accordance with the Ukrainian Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to Mr Hocharov, four simple step will help you not only save your child’s life, but also prevent illegal actions in respect of others. However, parent’s negligence and scepticism about justice give rise to impunity and more, new victims.

Accordingly, parents who have found either Momo or Blue Whale or any other dangerous game, should:

  1. Save or, for instance, make screen shots or pictures of the child’s correspondence with a stranger. It is also important to make records of any information on that matter: in addition to the text, it is also important to record connection dates, phone numbers, names and pictures of subscribers, even fake ones, who communicated their child.
  2. Arrange a visit to a psychologist or mental physician to document what happened to the child and to identify possible mental disruptions or abnormalities as a result of such communication, and to make out a diagnosis. It is necessary that the doctor give you a certificate setting out the findings of the visit.
  3. File a report on an alleged crime with the police. In accordance with Article 214 of the Ukrainian Code of Civil procedure, an investigation officer is required to make a relevant entry with the Uniform State Register of Pre-trial Investigations and start the investigation with 24 hours.
  4. File an application with the investigation officer seeking to hold you and your child to be the victims once the investigation is initiated. After that, you will be able either on your own or with the involvement of an advocate (acting as an attorney for the victim) to collect evidence, file requests, make statements, or submit complaints.

Those actions will trigger the investigation into the attempted incitement to suicide and search for criminals to hold them criminally liable.