The “MOMO” CHALLENGE – What You Need To Know
Are kids committing suicide because of the newest internet challenge? What is the “Momo Challenge”?
WHAT IS THE MOMO CHALLENGE?
The “Momo Challenge” is an alleged form of cyber bullying that spreads through social media and cell phones. The Momo challenge is spread through various social platforms such as WhatsApp and YouTube, through which children receive anonymous threatening messages tied to pictures of “Momo.”
The “Momo” messages encourage kids to engage in perilous activities such as taking pills, stabbing other people, and even killing themselves.
WHEN DID THE MOMO CHALLENGE START?
The Momo challenge gained steam in mid-2018 with a report that a 12-year-old Argentinian girl had been motivated by the “Momo Game” to hang herself. However, authorities in Argentina never confirmed that the girl’s suicide was encouraged by the Momo challenge. Authorities suspect someone encouraged her to take her own life.
What/Who is MOMO?
Momo was initially thought to be created by Japanese artist Midori Hayashi who is known for making bizarre dolls using different animal parts.
Momo is actually a sculpture created by Japanese special effects company, Link Factory.
The real title of the artwork is Mother Bird and was on display at Tokyo’s horror art Vanilla Gallery.
Neither Hayashi or Link Factory are associated with the Momo challenge.
Momo-related threats and suicide imagery were also being inserted into videos (such as Peppa Pig) viewed by children on YouTube and elsewhere.
It is reported that 90% of suicide victims already suffer from some form of untreated mental illness.
iNews reports on the subject or viral challenges quoted cyberpsychology expert Dr. Dawn Branley Bell as noting that “dangerous online challenges do exist,” but “suicide rarely has a singular cause”:
“In all likelihood it is a minority of internet users who are affected by — and become engaged with — this type of content,” says Dr Dawn Branley Bell, a cyberpsychology expert who specialises in the risks of online activities. While dangerous online challenges do exist, the cyberpsychologist says the internet results in these trends being overhyped because stories can spread instantly across the world.
“These crazes are not unique to the online environment,” she says. “It’s just that the internet acts as a way of communicating these behaviours to a wider, more public audience.” (It isn’t hard to imagine that if social media existed in the 1990s, British tabloids would run articles about “the terrifying challenge” that was eight-year-olds saying “Bloody Mary” three times into the bathroom mirror.)
Branley Bell also says that challenges like Momo make for good headlines because they are dramatic and shocking, but notes that suicide rarely has a singular cause.
“Those that are vulnerable to this type of content are likely to have other reasons behind this vulnerability,” she says “I feel that our time and effort would be better spent concentrating on addressing the reasons behind the initial psychological vulnerability — whether that is low self-esteem, mental health issues, or environmental issues — rather than the online content.”
The best advice is to be more conscious with what your children are viewing on the internet. Be a “Parent”. DO NOT allow social media to become the parent you should be. Another fun fact, a “Momo” is also used to refer to someone who is an idiot or moron.