A Russian Online Scam targeting children has popped up online using the popular Italian cartoon “Winx Club,” which became known in the United States through 4Kids and Nickelodeon, to convince kids to burn themselves. The show’s creator has even come out to ask the Russian government to prosecute those behind the scam.

One child was burned trying to cast the ‘School for Witches’ spell

In the original cartoon, the heroine, Bloom, is a normal girl from Earth who learns that she is a fairy and the princess of a lost planet.

Towards the end of the first season, she learns that her powers are derived from the mysterious “Dragon’s Flame,” or "dragonfire" in the initial U.S. version, which created the magical world. Currently having finished its seventh series, the show is popular with children around the world, notably even being the first Italian cartoon to have a commercial release in the United States.

The online scam encouraged children to become fire-fairies like Bloom themselves by casting a spell that involves turning on all four burners of a gas stove and repeating magical words.

The spell specifically asks children to perform the ritual at midnight so that no one will stop them. At least one little girl, identified as Sofia Ezhova, was severely burned after trying to cast the spell. Reportedly, one mother claimed her daughter turning on the oven to cast such a spell would have killed her entire family had she not smelled the gas in time.

According to reports, tens of thousands of children have looked up the online spell in the past month, according to a Russian search engine.

Russian police are investigating the source of the scam

Russian police were alerted to the disturbing game from the complaints of parents. The Russian Investigative Committee, which is the Russian equivalent of the FBI, currently believes the main objective of the game is to scare parents.

MP Irina Yarovaya has said in a released statement that current Russian law was not adequate enough to allow this online scam to occur.

She also added that the people behind the scam were likely professional online hackers, not “amateurs.” In addition, she referred to the scam as a “suicide game.”

Iginio Straffi, who is both the original creator of the series and the CEO of the animation company, Rainbow, that produces the show, condemned the incidents in a statement, saying that the instructions are promoting "suicide" and that the company is mortified "by such cynical materials apparently aimed at causing harm to children." He also assured that the company had nothing to do with this, saying that the show intends to promote the message of “kindness” to the children watching it at home.

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