Sunderland parents warned about online game as teen death probe launched

Characters from the introduction of the Doki Doki Literature Club.
Characters from the introduction of the Doki Doki Literature Club.
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A warning has been issued about the dangers of an online game to youngsters as a coroner is investigating the death of a teenager.

Headteachers at schools across Sunderland were issued with the warning through the city council urging families to be on their guard against the game Doki Doki Literature Club.

Sir Paul Ennals.

Sir Paul Ennals.

The Manchester cornoner’s office, which is investigating the death of a teenager, wanted to highlight their concerns to local authorities across the country.

Although at the very beginning the game states clearly it is ‘not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed’, initially the characters are cute female figures, which would appeal to youngsters.

However, it turns into a psychological horror game with suicide as a main feature. It follows things such as mental health issues, voices in their head, self-harming, suicide and violent scenes such as one of the player’s neck snapping.

The coroner contacted local authorities across the country saying: “I believe the information is so concerning that this warrants my writing at this stage to make the local authorities aware of the issue so appropriate information can be disseminated.

The Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board and its national and regional partners all work together to protect children and young people

Sir Paul Ennals

“This has arisen due to the fact I am conducting the inquest into the death of a 15-year-old-boy who died earlier this year. Evidence obtained suggested he had used an online game called Doki Doki.”

Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board has distributed this information to schools in the city.

Sir Paul Ennals, chairman of the board, said: “The Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board and its national and regional partners all work together to protect children and young people and promote their welfare.

“Part of this is sharing concerns about issues and community safety messages on how they might be addressed.

The start of Doki Doki Literature Club.

The start of Doki Doki Literature Club.

“On this occasion it was to share information with schools about the death of a young person outside of our area, which the coroner at the inquest felt it was relevant to share with colleagues across the country.”

Nicola Hill was one of the headteachers who shared a warning with parents on Hetton Primary School’s Facebook page.

She said: “I wanted to warn parents, especially those who might have older children, about this game.

“The internet is a great thing, but it is also a minefield.”

Doki Doki Literature Club was developed in 2017 by game producers, Salvato, and is believed to have been downloaded more than two million times in the first four months.

•The Samaritans are at hand if you need help. You don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans.

Whatever you’re going through, call them free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.