TL;DR – Yikes, Momo is very, very creepy.
Does anyone still remember the Blue Whale challenge?
Yes, I am referring to the social media phenomenon some time back where participants were encouraged to perform a series of tasks over 50 days, in which these tasks would intensify progressively and eventually participants would finally be told to kill themselves.
Well, it seems that this suicide game has, again, sent parents into a frenzy mode when rumours that some children were playing it on a school bus surfaced recently.
And just when the Blue Whale challenge has hardly blown over totally, here comes another disturbing “suicide challenge” that has been popping up in some parts of the world in recent weeks, predominantly through WhatsApp, called the “Momo” challenge.
According to Unilad, “Momo” apparently has social media accounts on both Facebook and Whatsapp.
This is how “Momo” looks like:
Bulging eyes, wide slit smile and straggling hair – yikes, creepy and disturbing enough.
So what is this “Momo” challenge about?
The Computer Crime Investigation Unit of the State of Tabasco, Mexico, took to their Twitter account where they explained what this disturbing game is about, reported Unilad.
The (translated) tweet reads:
It all started in a Facebook group where participants were challenged to start communicating with an unknown number. Several users said that if they sent a message to Momo on their cell phone, the response came with violent and aggressive images, and some say they had messages answered with threats.
Very much like the Blue Whale challenge, “Momo” challenge is mostly targeted towards the younger victims.
It involves a controller, giving out orders to the intended victim to do things as part of the game.
And in the event that the player refuses to follow the orders given by the controller, the controller will then proceed to threaten the player and incite suicide or violence, harass, extort and generate physical and psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.
According to the Buenos Aires Times, police are linking the disturbing game to the death of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina. The young girl had committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree in the backyard of her home after filming a video.
The police believe that the video was to be uploaded onto social media as part of a challenge aimed at crediting the “Momo” challenge.
But wait, is “Momo” even real?
“Momo” isn’t a real person, of course.
Momo first appeared as a sculpture. This artwork was featured at a Japanese doll artist Midori Hayashi‘s solo exhibition held at Vanilla Gallery (Tokyo, Japan), back in 2016.
Interestingly, the artist who created “Momo has not been found to br associated with the game at all.
Okay, then what should parents do?
Back in 2017, in response to online content that may negatively influence children to view suicide as a viable way to deal with their problems, or even romanticise or glamourise the act of suicide, the Ministry of Education had issued advisories on their online publication Schoolbag.sg to advise parents of the critical protective role that they can play to minimise the negative effects of exposure to self-harm or suicide.
Well, there can be a whole bunch of advice out there. But ultimately, the key ingredient for building a positive and effective relationship is still “Communication”.
Just like for every other relationship – parents and child, no less.