'A teddy bear with razor-sharp teeth': The latest disturbing social media trend affecting kids

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
" In one of the videos, the bear asks the viewer to take their last breath". (Oovvuu/Fox 5)
" In one of the videos, the bear asks the viewer to take their last breath". (Oovvuu/Fox 5)

The latest disturbing social media trend is once again proving that just because something sounds kid-friendly doesn't mean it is. 

It's called Huggy Wuggy, a blue teddy-bear like character originating from a recently released survival horror game by developer MOB Games.

The character has gone viral on YouTube, TikTok and Roblox. 

Also read: The psychological impact of exposing children to 'harmful content' and why age restrictions matter 

While the name makes the character sound like a missing member of the Teletubbies, it's anything but, with the character inspiring fan-made songs with lyrics including: 

"His name is Huggy, Huggy Wuggy. When he hugs you, he'll never stop... He'll squeeze you until you pop". 

Thanks to its innocent-sounding name, the character has found its way into popular online content like Peppa Pig. 

'The bear asks the viewer to take their last breath'

In the UK, schools are warning parents about the "deceiving character". 

"It has been brought to my attention that a character named 'Huggy Wuggy' is being viewed by our children online... The character can be easily viewed on YouTube channels and is a teddy bear with razor-sharp teeth that sings worrying songs about hugging and killing. In one of the videos, the bear asks the viewer to take their last breath. It is a very deceiving character, as hugs should be seen as something kind and loving," wrote one UK principal David Hegarty via Facebook. 

Another UK-based principal Justine Brown says that pupils have started mimicking the game on the playground, "hugging and whispering nasty things in the recipient's ear".

Also see: 'It takes a digital village to raise a digital child': Mom and co-founder of a local digital safety agency shares top tips


'He didn't know the difference between reality and gaming'

For one UK mom Beth Buxton the character has sent her three-year-old into a tailspin after spotting Huggy Wuggy while his sisters played on the gaming platform Roblox. 

"He got to the stage where he didn't know the difference between reality and gaming. He tried to climb up my bedroom window, saying he would die and come back to life, telling me that's what Huggy Wuggy does," the mom said, adding that she's now become highly vigilant. 

"We have banned Roblox and put locks on YouTube. I have window locks being installed next week because he is still thinking about it. There are numerous terrifying characters in these games". 

Watch the video below for more:


US-based Editorial Director of Parents.com Melissa Bykofsky suggests parents address this trend with their children to see if they've been exposed to the character. 

"The biggest thing is just communication, making sure that your kids know that if they are scared or concerned about anything they see, anything their friends are talking about, they can come to their parents". 

Chatback:

Share your stories and questions with us via email at chatback@parent24.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Don't miss a story!

For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Parent24 newsletter.

Follow us, and chat, on Facebook and Twitter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1592 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
53% - 8573 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
34% - 5405 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 511 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.17
+0.5%
Rand - Pound
19.63
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
16.59
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.52
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.2%
Gold
1,802.29
0.0%
Silver
20.82
0.0%
Palladium
2,227.50
0.0%
Platinum
966.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
98.15
-1.5%
Top 40
63,996
-1.0%
All Share
70,731
-0.8%
Resource 10
64,048
-2.8%
Industrial 25
86,577
-0.6%
Financial 15
16,059
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE