Videos of Huggy Wuggy, a ‘killer teddy’, are being circulated on social media app TikTok, as well as YouTube, and are being watched by children as young as five.
In the disturbing videos, the blue-coloured bear sings about ‘hugging and killing’ and asks viewers to ‘take their last breath’.
It goes on to say, ‘my teeth are sharp and ready, in my grasp, yeah they’re deadly’.
The razor-toothed bear also invites people to ‘lean in for a spine-breaking embrace’.
Huggy Wuggy is one of the most popular characters in an online horror game called Poppy Playtime.
It is set in an abandoned toy factory, with players solving puzzles while trying to survive ‘vengeful toys’ that have been left behind.
This particular horrifying character follows players around. It appears unexpectedly in the dark and if you are caught, “Huggy Wuggy bears his wide and sinister grin and eats you”.
Information shared by Safer Schools NI, states: “One potential reason for the recent increase in content and popularity may be that a second version of the game is rumoured to be released very soon.
“A new trailer has been released, alongside ‘teaser’ clips and many fan-made videos on YouTube discussing the potential changes.
“Amongst the information that developers have released, is the addition of new characters, including Mommy Long Legs and Kissy Missy.
“Like Huggy Wuggy, these new characters have arguably ‘innocent’ names that may sound child-friendly but could be visually disturbing and upsetting for children.”
Safer Schools NI has shared some top tips. These include:
*If your child hasn’t mentioned Huggy Wuggy or Poppy Playtime, don’t name it. You may pique their curiosity which in turn could lead to them searching out the content for themselves on platforms they might have access to.
*If you hear a child in your care mention Huggy Wuggy, pause and remain calm. It could be that they have overheard conversation about in school or online, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have viewed content or have a full understanding of who Huggy Wuggy is.
*If they have seen anything upsetting, reassure them that they are safe. It’s important children know they can come and speak to you without fear of judgement. If necessary, ask them to show you the video or game, and follow appropriate reporting procedures if you are concerned.
*Ask them about the content they enjoy watching online, and if anything they’ve seen has ever made them or their friends upset or scared.
The Safer Schools NI website has many resources to support parents, teachers and children and can be accessed here.