CHILDREN in North Ayrshire are being targeted by a sick internet challenge which encourages them to self harm and commit suicide.

Parents have been warned to monitor their children's internet usage after children reported being terrorised by the 'MOMO Challenge' - where a warped face of a raven-haired doll-figure with bulging eyes and a creepy grin appears on their screens.

The horror doll is reportedly appearing on YouTube, Kids YouTube, WhatsApp and other social media.

The creepy figure has also reportedly interrupted episodes of Peppa Pig urging children to take part in self harm challenges. It also encourages them to add a contact on messaging service WhatsApp, then hounds them with violent images and dares.

It encourages them to self-harm and the most extreme post tells them to take their own lives.

North Ayrshire schools and Education chiefs have issued warnings to parents to make sure they are closely monitoring what their children are viewing.

NAC Education tweeted: "Parents and carers should be aware of a recent social media ‘game’ that could have negative effects on their children’s mental health."

Police Scotland issued a statement urging parents not to panic, saying: "Online challenges like MOMO may cause concern for parents however these 'challenges' appear every few months and we've seen other examples over time. Parents should not panic but speak with their children about all aspects of their online world & explain potential dangers."

The original 'MOMO' image was taken from a sculpture by a Japanese special effects company and the original sculpture was called 'Mother Bird'. 

Some internet sources say MOMO is just the latest internet prank and can't infiltrate children's devices, however Education bosses are still issuing advice on internet safety in relation to MOMO.