Healthy Kids    

How concerned should you be about Momo?

Is the viral "challenge" sweeping the internet a hoax?

momo challenge threat

Lately there seems to be a number of viral “challenges” sweeping the social media world. Some more dangerous than others. These social media challenges in recent years have been motivated by everything from raising money for charity to making silly videos to more dangerous situations such as the 48 hour challenge we posted about last week to setting yourself on fire. WHAT?!

This week the Momo challenge again went viral (first showing up in 2018 according to Snopes) reportedly challenging children to preform acts of self-harm. This particular challenge has seemingly gone viral throughout local mom’s groups recently due to the unexpected nature of the videos, umm Peppa Pig?!

Multiple news sources explain that the idea behind Momo is that while children are innocently watching age-appropriate content something will pop up, it could be Momo, who then tries to get children to contact her through other apps and or phone numbers.

In one particular Momo challenge, she supposedly threatens children into performing acts of self-harm which eventually result in trying to tempt them to take their own life.

Scary? YES! True? Probably not.

A number of sources including the popular myth busting website, Snopes reports that there is still a good deal of skepticism that such challenge actually exists and is a hoax among youth. Critics have reported that while there is a good deal of hype around what Momo does and says, there have been no reports of anyone actually interacting with the account. In addition, some local schools and police departments have warned about the dangers of social media, however have also reported no known cases of suicide or self-harm linked to Momo.

While Momo is more than likely a hoax than a real account coercing children to commit suicide, we should use this opportunity as a viral warning to talk about internet safety. However, please be careful not to go on a panicky rant that puts these ideas in front of more children in an unsafe manner.

It is near impossible to keep track of everything your child watches online so utilizing your network of parents and resources is a good way to stay up to date. Parents can and should have each others’ backs in this day and age. We need to not only keep the line of communication open with our children but with each other as well.

Talk to your children. Create an open social media policy and randomly check up on what your children are doing online. For more information or help on how to create a safe online space for your children we have listed parenting resources below.

Parents’ Guide to Social Networking Sites

How to Handle Internet Dangers

Keep Kids Safe Online

In addition, if you think that your child might be at risk of suicide, depression or may be harming themselves please reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support. 1-800-273-8255. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Hudson Valley/ Westchester is also a great resource.