Beware of a new potentially dangerous trend on social media and online, which could encourage your child to take their own life: this is the warning coming from parents. The danger is called the Momo Challenge.
A lot of parents are learning about this for the very first time, this week, even though there have been reports since the summer of 2018. Part of the reason for that is explained by the fact that the game instructs kids that if they tell their parents about it, actual harm will be inflicted on them or even on their parents.
Momo was originally a Japanese statue and has bulging eyes, a chilling smile, and black hair, on the body of a bird.
Shared on social media such as Facebook as well as their messaging app WhatsApp, along with You Tube say that any content which promotes harm is totally against its community standards and is taken down.
The challenge is to meet Momo, but in order to do that, a series of instructions need to be followed, which can include harming others or oneself.
Kids who were asked by grownups about the challenge, ran to them crying, asking how they knew about it. WPTV Ch5 asked a psychologist, Dr Raphi Wald, how best to talk about the challenge. He said the best way is to tell kids that there are people in the world who might try to get you to do things you don’t want to do.
WPTV Ch5’s technology expert, Alan Crowetz (www.infostream.cc) says parents should learn the texting anonyms and download the software they use which can track their online activity and also parents should make sure they can see their kids’ screen while they are on a computer or other device. He added that kids should be made aware of the dangers, in the same way ad we teach them how to cross the street safely.
Alan also wonders how many people have actually sat down with their kids and had the all-important talk about what they share, what they are doing online and with whom they are communicating.
To date, no deaths have resulted from the Momo Challenge here in the United States but it has been linked to the death of a girl in Argentina.