The Brief: The Momo "suicide challenge" has been gaining attention after recent reports from parents and police warning about its potential danger.
What Is The Momo Suicide Challenge?
Momo is a combination of a creepy image and alleged “suicide challenge” in which someone uses WhatsApp to instruct kids to self-harm and even commit suicide. The image associated with Momo is actually a sculpture made by a Japanese special effects company. The image of the sculpture has been circulated along with stories about a sinister challenge in which someone pretending to be an evil force with this appearance persuades or threatens people to complete a series of tasks, some of which include self-harm. The final task in this sequence is said to be suicide. Momo can also potentially be used as a way to threaten and extort vulnerable individuals for money and private financial information.
For more about the Momo challenge and other similar creepypasta like Blue Whale and Slenderman, read StayHipp’s full coverage here.
Recent News: February 2019
After making headlines last year, panic about the Momo challenge has been spreading recently and going viral online. On her Instagram story, Kim Kardashian posted about how the “challenge” can be harmful to children and asked YouTube to take action by removing kids videos that supposedly have Momo’s image embedded into them. YouTube responded to Kim Kardashian, claiming that “we’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube.”
Reports and warnings about the challenge appear to be mostly based on hearsay. It’s not entirely clear whether there’s been an upsurge in people targeting minors under the guise of Momo or if recent concern just stems from older (and usually unsubstantiated) stories.
Is This Cause For Concern?
It appears that much of the hype around this story has been overstated. However, there are serious issues surrounding the content available to children online. This week, YouTube has been dealing with companies removing ads on the site after groups of pedophiles were found making suggestive and lewd comments on kids’ videos. There have also been reports of disturbing videos being included and even recommended by algorithms on the YouTube Kids app.
In addition, although an evil force named Momo isn’t real, cyberbullying is. Online, under a cloak of anonymity, people can target individuals for the sake of bullying, trolling, or stealing private information. Internet safety and privacy measures can help mitigate the risks of internet usage. It is especially important for parents to talk to their kids about what they see online and how to deal with bullying and inappropriate content.
Suicide Prevention Resources: