HAMPSHIRE parents are being warned over reports of a game being circulated online - and there are fears that hackers are using it to harvest data from users.

The game, known as the ‘Momo Challenge’, is played via social media platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube.

The game has been reported in various countries and has been linked to at least two deaths.

However, the Samaritans and NSPCC say there is no evidence that the Momo challenge has caused any harm itself, but are concerned about the possibility of it causing panic.

A Hampshire school headteacher has now written to parents urging them to be aware of the phenomenon.

The message says: "We are sending this communication to share information we have received from the Police about an internet ‘game’ called The MOMO which encourages children to harm themselves and is reported to be linked to several deaths around the world and is now appearing across the UK.

"The police believe the game is being used by hackers seeking and harvesting information, warning that while it is perceived as an horrendous ‘suicide game’ targeting children, likely to get thousands of hits, it ‘misses the bigger picture’."

Parents are being warned the game hides itself in the form of other normal looking games or videos so parents don’t suspect it. Momo then asks the player to add a number on WhatsApp.

After adding the number, the scary doll like figure sends graphic violent images, and starts by asking them to complete odd tasks. Tasks then start to become more dark and dangerous, before ending by challenging them to take their own lives.

One parent took to social media and said: “When I collected him from school the teacher asked to talk to me. When we got home I spoke to him about this and he told me that some kids at school had told him to look at the Momo Challenge.

“When ***** watched a video the Momo character told him to tell everyone to fear Momo or it will kill him in his sleep.

“If you have a child it would be well worth it to open up a dialogue about idiots online and try to get ahead of this.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “We would urge anyone caring for or working with children and young people to be vigilant in ensuring the appropriate security controls are enabled on all online technology.

“There is a wide range of advice available about online safety including the county council’s own Online Safety Resource which provides access to a range of help and advice for school staff, parents carers and young people.”