Tom Swarbrick 7pm - 1am
Parents warned over children watching sinister Huggy Wuggy videos online
5 April 2022, 15:49
Parents are being warned that their children may be watching disturbing online videos featuring a sinister character called Huggy Wuggy.
Listen to this article
The animated character has the appearance of a blue teddy bear, but has razor-sharp teeth and is said to sing songs about hugging and killing, including "hugging you to death".
In nightmarish videos posted on TikTok and YouTube, the bear reportedly asks those watching to take their last breath.
One song is said to include the lyrics: "I could hug you here forever, till you breathe your last breath together."
Children possibly as young as five have been able to access the worrying clips, as YouTube's security features may not pick up some videos due to the character's seemingly innocent nature.
Some have reportedly been seen recreating the bear's actions in the playground.
Huggy Wuggy is one of the main villains in a horror survival video game called Poppy Playtime created by MOB Games, with toys of the character available to buy online.
Schools and police forces across the country have issued warnings.
A Dorset Police spokesperson told Dorset Live: "Set in an abandoned toy factory, Huggy is a villain in the game who stalks the players from vents and unreachable places. Videos of the game are available to watch on YouTube, with other clips dedicated to Huggy in songs."
Chris Conroy, Cyber Protection Officer for Dorset Police, said the videos are "based around jump scares and things you certainly wouldn't want children exposed to".
He added: "If you were to use even YouTube Kids for example, it may slip through because there is nothing obviously sinister about the name of the video.
"It really comes down to paying attention to what your children are doing and making sure they are not just trusting YouTube Kids videos are safe because unfortunately with videos like this, things do slip through the cracks."
The principal of Cregagh Primary School in East Belfast, David Hegarty, said in a Facebook post: "It has been brought to my attention that a character named 'Huggy Wuggy' is being viewed by our children online, some as young as Primary One."
He added the character is "very deceiving... as hugs should be seen as something kind and loving, and because of its name is able to infiltrate firewalls and filters".
"I just wanted to inform parents so you are aware and can be vigilant around what your children could be watching," he added.
A YouTube spokesperson said: "These videos are not available on YouTube Kids. Additionally, on YouTube Kids, all of our parental controls are free for parents to customise the experience for their children, enabling them to control what they can or cannot see.
"This includes the ability to handpick the content, choose content levels by age, to block content, and more."