Parents – Here’s What You Need To Know About Viral “Momo”
This actually disgusts me and I'm in awe that it's even a thing - but I guess that's what the world has come to. It's also not new - it's been around for some time now but apparently is making its way back around again.
Worried parents who have experienced it with their children are urging other parents to take caution. The "Momo" is going viral and your kids could be seeing it.
Over the winter - reports of this "game" emerged, stating it had been mostly played on WhatsApp, but was being seen on Facebook, YouTube and other online platforms. The game encourages the players, mostly kids, to slowly isolate and hurt themselves. Once added as a contact, “Momo” would allegedly try to persuade children to kill themselves, leave stoves on while the rest of the household is sleeping, etc. The "Momo" threatens to kill the parents of those who do not perform the tasks.
In Edinburgh, an 8 year old was told to get a knife from the kitchen and put it to his neck. The "game" is linked to the death of a 12 year old girl in Argentina. A father in France filed a complaint with the State Department after his son killed himself. And in Belgium, a 13 year old boy fell victim to the "game" and hanged himself.
Now, according to Daily Star, the most recent place the game is taking place, is in the middle of videos on YouTube of the popular game, Fortnite, or Peppa Pig. The "Momo" appears in the middle of the videos to avoid being detected by parents. This is why this "Momo" is being brought back up.
But despite the warning scores of videos featuring the "Momo," some featuring images of self-harm, remain live on YouTube and Instagram.
A YouTube spokesman said "YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that's intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm or death. We remove flagged videos that violate our policies."
Instagram says it has now deleted three accounts involved in promoting "Momo."
Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people who use Instagram. Content or accounts that encourage others to harm themselves are not allowed and we will remove them as soon as we are made aware.
They also said they have a team working round the clock to prioritize reports of self-harm on their platform.
There's also another video on the internet that is going around currently, in the middle of a kids video, encouraging the slitting of their wrists.
WHY IN THE WORLD IS THIS HAPPENING?
Can I personally confirm that this challenge is 100% actually real? No. But I've heard stories from people around Central New York saying their children have seen this character in videos on YouTube where it shouldn't be, and their kids were scared to talk about it. That alone is enough of a concern for me to write about it. It has been said the whole thing on WhatsApp is fake, which I can understand since there is no real definitive proof, but who are the individuals editing videos to convince children to do some of these horrid things?
Long story short - if you have a child who has access to devices that can be used with any of these apps, you might want to check with them and make sure that they are not playing this game, or seeing this in videos. Might be best if you go through whatever device they have and double check. Internet safety is SO important.
UPDATE: FRIDAY, MARCH 1ST, 2019
You may or may not have seen some articles going around since I originally wrote this about "Momo" being a hoax - and I have some thoughts about it.
First of all, when I wrote this post, my first thought when I saw the topic was "wow, I have two, seven year old cousins that watch YouTube all the time. I should probably mention something like this to my Aunt." That's exactly what I did, and today I found out that one of them admitted she knew about Momo, and she was SO scared by it. It may have even been the cause of nightmares - she was scared to go upstairs in her own home.
How am I, as an adult cousin who looks at the two of them more like my little sisters, supposed to act (other than annoyed) when I hear this, when people are going around saying its fake? Sure....Momo is 100% NOT REAL. It is clearly a statue created by a Japanese special effects company. She may have seen it on YouTube in the middle of some of her videos, she may have seen it from other kids. I truly don't know. But regardless, someone who I love is scared by Momo.
There are reports that the "challenge" discussed above was linked to numerous cases of death in other counties, but according to the Washington Post, none of these circumstantial reports tying the game to suicides have been proved.
Imagine if you were the parent or family member of one of these kids, and you are, for whatever your reasons may be, led to believe that the death happened because of this supposed "challenge." Now - the reason that you no longer have a person in your life is being mocked in the media as not being real? The result is sure as heck real to all the people impacted.
Kids are scared to go to bed at night because they don't want Momo to "get them." Kids are scared to tell their parents because Momo told them not to and they're young, they may not know any better to know it's fake.
Long rant short, Momo is allowing parents to have conversations with their children about internet safety and fear that is LONG overdue.
Whether the challenge is currently real or not, and reintroduced into society by media, it has made an impact in the lives of some in this world. Whether Momo is being seen in Youtube videos or not, it is making an impact on CHILDREN in this world.
Who are we to excuse the fact that the fear of this internet, child targeting phenomenon is real to so many?
The whole thing is disgusting to me.