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What you need to know about the ‘Huggy Wuggy’ trend on TikTok and YouTube

12 May 2022 | Posted in Student Protection; Online Safety

What you need to know about the ‘Huggy Wuggy’ trend on TikTok and YouTube

Katherine Olsen

By Katherine Olsen

Student Protection Coordinator

Townsville Catholic Education

You may have heard about the latest TikTok craze involving Huggy Wuggy, which is a character from horror survival game Poppy Playtime. The game is a scary experience designed to thrill and unsettle. It has been rated suitable for 13 year olds. It features a sense of threat and dread throughout as the player’s character explores an abandoned factory. 

A number of our schools have advised of an increase in students, including primary aged students, reporting exposure to this viral trend.

The game’s main character, Huggy Wuggy, a scary blue character with red lips and sharp teeth, features in YouTube videos and TikToks, urging children to harm themselves or others. This has been further spread throughout the online community with what appears to be fans making songs with/about him along with their own animations and images.  No evidence has been reported that these videos/images link back to the game itself, but there has been an increase in this type of fan generated content. 

There are videos showing Huggy Wuggy in violent scenes or images of him running to the camera with a knife. These images are being superimposed into other content or getting through parental control filters because of the seemingly innocent name 'Huggy Wuggy'.  The videos, animations and GIFs being created of Huggy Wuggy are quite scary for primary age children.

This viral trend is currently most prominent on YouTube and TikTok however there are also animations and short videos being created in games such as Roblox and Minecraft. 

Parents and carers can help prevent exposure of inappropriate content for their child online by educating themselves and communicating regularly with their child.  I encourage you to educate yourself about this trend and what it entails. It is also important to know the apps and games your child is using and understand the content.  Familiarise yourself with the functions of these apps and games as sometimes you aren't aware that your child can speak to strangers or that videos or images can be sent to children through games. You may be able to turn these functions off in the settings of the game/app. 

Supervision and communication are crucial in reducing risk to children online. Encourage your child to use devices in living areas as opposed to bedrooms or private spaces and try to avoid using headphones. This kind of informal supervision allows you a greater chance of providing protection by being able to hear what your child is listening to and quickly check on what they are watching.

Ask open-ended questions to try and gauge if your child has been exposed to this trend or have heard about this through friends. If they have been exposed to this content, talk to them about what it is they saw, explain the content can be scary and confusing but it is not real. If they have not been exposed to this, you may consider having a general conversation about some of the dangers online and concerns you have about online content. 

Find out how to set up devices and apps with parental controls to help keep your children safe online and provide a stronger level of control over what can be accessed and viewed. The eSafety Commission has a range of useful resources and webinars for parents to assist in increasing online safety for your child.  

Rather than warning children about specific dangers such as Huggy Wuggy, you can help children by teaching them good practices online. Fostering an atmosphere of openness and transparency about online activity ensures that children can thrive. 

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