Momo Challenge could Lead To Kids Dying

Hands up if you ever stuck a tablet on your kid’s lap with “kiddy youtube” on and left them to it while you cooked dinner. You ever heard of the momo challenge? If you have I suspect you’re a bit more cautious about your kid’s tablet use. If not, read on.

We are going to play a game

The momo challenge in itself is quite a disturbing concept. Momo is ostensibly a bog-eyed, creepy looking character. I believe it’s a Japanese statue, although if you are familiar with it and know the exact origins feel free to drop us a line and let us know. The character appears on videos and gives you links to connect to them via social media.

This is where the “fun” begins. Momo gives you challenges to perform in order to “meet momo”. Now the idea of meeting who is behind the avatar in itself is enough to send chills down the spine of most parents. It gets worse: the challenges require kids to send video evidence that they are being carried out and some of them, include violent acts towards the person or other persons. The game has been strongly linked with a suicide in Argentina.

The horror continues

Unfortunately, these types of horrors aren’t limited to kids old enough to navigate social media now either. There is a trend where nasty videos have been segued into episodes of Peppa pig and similar shows.

I saw a clip where a picture of momo appears and a chilling nursery rhyme plays. The lyrics to this are:

Momo’s going to kill you.
At night she’ll come.
When you’re in bed.
In the morning.
You will be dead.
Momo’s going to kill you.
You want a surprise.
Look in her eyes.
You’re going to die.
Momo’s going to kill you.
If you don’t believe.
Think she’s just made up.
She will get you.
When you’re home alone.

It has a similar vibe to the scenes in Nightmare on Elm Street with the little girls who are skipping. If you are old enough to have watched those films when they were new then you will know just how creepy that is. It doesn’t stop there either. There have been reports of these videos being interrupted by clips of people instructing kids to slit their wrists or turn the gas on. And showing them how to do it. Chilling, right? The worst of it is that these videos have appeared on the apparently “kiddy safe” iteration of YouTube.

What is YouTube doing?

YouTube have insisted they have a zero tolerance policy on videos that could potentially cause harm to people. They have urged people to report anything untoward that they discover. As for Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, the platforms used for momo to issue instructions, there is not a lot these platforms can really do.

What can parents do

This has to be a wake-up call for parents about what their kids can potentially access. As a parent myself, I have witnessed an episode of Doc Mcstuffins that started off as a normal episode but quickly became creepy. The theme tune was slowed down to sound demonic and the episode was edited to spread satanic messages. The language in it was far from suitable for kids and the content was scary for me as an adult, let alone for a child. As yet I haven’t witnessed anything like this on the kid’s version of YouTube.

momo

I think it is important to not leave younger children unsupervised with youtube and to educate older children. I know as a busy adult, especially if you are a single parent with a clingy child, that sometimes you need said child distracted. But perhaps use Netflix?

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