So, if you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the last few weeks, you’ve heard of the Momo challenge. And if you haven’t heard about it, here’s a quick breakdown. Reports of a creepy doll figure that can be contacted via social media named Momo are circulating. Basically, Momo presents violent and graphic images, and sends messages challenging children to perform dangerous tasks. These tasks may involve self-harm, and parents are losing their minds over the Momo challenge. The worst part about the Momo challenge is there are reports of videos infiltrating YouTube Kids and flying under the kid friendly radar. Additionally, multiple big-name YouTubers are posting reaction videos to the Momo challenge, which attracts more traffic to it. This internet challenge is such a hot topic that even Kim Kardashian took the time to spread awareness on the matter.
Why the Momo Challenge is NBD (No Big Deal)
Although multiple celebrities, news channels, news articles and even police departments are spreading awareness about the dangers of Momo; this has been proven to be a hoax. Mostly, he main issue with this hoax is that “headline-readers” are sharing every post they see on different social media platforms to “spread awareness”. In reality, they are spreading fake news. In fact, this is the second time that the Momo challenge is resurfacing. The first time around, the challenge referred to texting a number and receiving instructions from Momo. This time around, the Momo challenge is associated to a creepy womanly face, which is actually a display in a museum in Tokyo. Momo is infiltrating your child’s YouTube content and can show up in Peppa Pig videos making various threats to this child’s family.
After a parental outrage, YouTube spoke out against these allegations on their official Twitter page, stating: “We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge: We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.”
The Challenge Trend
In short, this is not the first time a similar challenge has spread. In 2014, the Slenderman game; 2016, the Blue Whale Suicide Game surfaced; in 2018, the Tide Pod eating game trended. All this to say, these concerning trends are constantly circulating the internet.
Overall, mental health advocates are warning against the popularity of these trends, but even more so are imploring parents to be aware of what their children being are exposed to. Instead of trying to catch every trend, ensure that there are parental controls on all devices, have regular talks with your children to make them aware, help them navigate the situation effectively. The moral of the story in situations such as these is that our kids will always be exposed to the dangers of the internet, but as adults and parents it is our responsibility to ensure their security. Not YouTube guidelines.
National Online Safety has posted a helpful infograph for parents looking for ways to approach this situation, we will link it here. Additionally, we will link a YouTuber named Philip DeFranco speaking out on this situation here. Finally, we will link a CNN article confirming that this whole ordeal is in fact a hoax here.
Final Thoughts on the Momo Challenge
- Monitor your child’s content consumption
- Put in the appropriate parental controls on your iPad/iPhone/etc.
- Stop relying on platforms such as YouTube Kids to monitor your child’s internet consumption for you
- Talk to your children about the dangers of the internet
- Recognize the signs that a child may be in danger
- Always research the information that you are sharing
We wrote a few blog posts relating to this situation, namely:
- Mental Health Awareness: Recognize the Signs
- A Picture of an Egg is Ruining Your Teen’s Life
- Tumblr Bans Mature Adult Content: Kids in Danger
We hope that this week’s blog post helped ease your mind. As always, we are a resource tool that can be used in times of confusion with your children. Please let us know if we can help in any way!
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