What the Tech? Police Warn about “Huggy Wuggy” Character
Police in England are warning parents and teachers about a viral cartoon character being shared by pre-school and elementary-age children called “Huggy Wuggy”.
The character is from a popular video game called Poppy PlayTime, which is available online and in apps. And apparently, all the kids are talking about it.
“I found this drawing in his bag and I said what is this and he said, oh I was just drawing.”
Sheila Smith told me her 8-year-old son gave her a scare when she found a picture he’d drawn of the monster after friends at school showed him videos they’d found online. At the top of the page, just above the drawing her son had written “I’m coming for you”.
“He finally told me that the character told him that the parents had hurt him so they need to kill us,” Smith said.
I had to see these videos for myself and I found thousands where the character Huggy Wuggy bites off arms. A music video starring the character walking down dark hallways has him singing the words “cause I could just hug you here forever, forever. Til you breath your last breath together together.”
Some videos are from the game but some, likely the ones her son watched, were created by others showing an even darker side to Huggy Wuggy. To even discerning viewers, it’s a little difficult figuring out where the videos came from and whether they’re from the game or another creator.
Police in England sent a warning to parents to be aware of the videos. Since the name Huggy Wuggy sounds innocent enough, the videos most likely slipped passed YouTube Kids restrictions, and Smith’s.
“I’m a strict mom,” she said. “Everything that goes on his tablet and on his phone has to go by me. And it still slipped through.”
After the police warning, Huggy Wuggy and Poppy PlayTime videos are no longer available on YouTube Kids. But thousands still exist on regular YouTube and TikTok.
Smith has warned other parents by posting a photograph of her son’s drawing on Facebook.
She’s received dozens of replies from people who are genuinely concerned, and some who dismiss the warning as just kids being kids.
“They’ve heard about it but they haven’t had that interaction that my son had. That’s good but keep your eyes open,” she said.
PoppyPlaytime is currently the second most popular puzzle game in the Apple App Store. A reminder for all parents that just because a game or video has a playful name, parents should still take a look for themselves. And talk to your child about what games and videos their friends are watching because they’ll probably see them too.