We received a message through Facebook alerting us to frightening videos of Huggy Wuggy, a seemingly innocent blue teddy bear that turns into a razor-sharp-toothed villain, singing about hugging and killing.
Huggy Wuggy videos are reportedly circulating on platforms like TikTok, Roblox and YouTube, through which children are enticed to watch this cute bear as he frolics around before turning into the scary bear that encourages viewers to ‘take their last breath’.
Huggy Wuggy is the main antagonist in the 2021 video game Poppy Playtime and children in the UK have reported feeling traumatised by the videos, which start as a puzzle game and turn into villain Huggy stalking players in a toy factory.
As the game hasn’t got an age rating, the content is unfiltered and can freely circulate, often flying under the radar as the names of the videos aren’t overtly sinister.
Only one report has been issued to Safe on Social about Huggy Wuggy to date however it is important that parents, carers and educators are aware of its existence in the chance that children see the videos, start a conversation about them or re-enact them in the school playground.
Just like all TV characters and video game villains, videos of a violent and scary nature can be distressing to young people. If you discover a child watching these videos or they talk about them, it is essential that you talk about the fact that Huggy Wuggy is not real, it cannot directly harm them and that they are safe.
If a child doesn’t bring it up however, we do not recommend talking to them about it as this often encourages them to go searching for it and discuss it with their friends.
We know that it can be worrisome for parents, carers and educators however the remedy isn’t to ban children from their devices but rather encourage ongoing conversations and online safety education. Kids need to know that they can tell a trusted adult if something concerns them or makes them feel uncomfortable without the fear of having their devices taken off them.
Make sure YOU know how to report and block on every app that children use so that you can help them when needed. This should be the absolute minimum that you know about the games and apps your kids or students are using.
We recommend that devices are not allowed in the bedroom when kids are young and as they get older a curfew is implemented. If you have a great understanding of what they are doing on their devices and when, it will give you the opportunity to discuss certain content that children may have viewed if necessary.
There are parental controls on all devices, make sure you and your parents use them. They are usually in the settings area of the device and are relatively easy to step-through. You can use Google and YouTube to access instructions on how to set parental controls for particular devices.
Trending videos and games are very tempting for young people. Talk to them about how they should not succumb to peer pressure or do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable online and offline. If they are unsure, make sure they know they can talk to you or another trusted adult.
We strongly encourage you to share this information with your community of parents and carers via your newsletter, school app or online platforms so they too can have conversations with their children about online safety and alleviate any potential worry associated with Huggy Wuggy.
If you have any questions or concerns about Huggy Wuggy or any other social media platform, please do reach out.