By Susan Taylor Feb 28, 2019
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There’s a disturbing new cyber threat targeting kids called the Momo Challenge. And all parents need to know about it, NOW!
This sick prank is infiltrating social and gaming platforms and forcing young children to self-harm. At least two kids have already committed suicide.Parents are all aware of the dangers of the internet, but this new cyber attack craze is next level. If you have kids you need to understand what the Momo Challenge is all about and how you need to protect your kids from it.
What is the Momo Challenge?‘Momo’ is a frightening female avatar with long hair, bulging eyes and a slit mouth. Originally a sculpture created by a Japanese special effects company, it’s since been hijacked and is now being used for more sinister purposes.
Momo will suddenly appear on different social channels in the middle of what appear to be innocent children’s videos and gameplay. However, the creature will then encourages the user to play her game – the Momo Challenge. She then sends violent images and in a haunting child’s voice encourages the viewer (knowing it’s likely to be a child) to do dangerous things to themselves and others, including suicide. If you don’t do what she asks, she threatens to kill you or your family members.
It’s EVERYWHEREThe Momo Challenge first appeared on YouTube in July 2018. Since then it has also appeared on platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and online games such as Fortnite and Minecraft. Parents have even reported it popping up on children’s YouTube channels while they’ve been watching Peppa Pig, with the kid-safe mode on.
These cyber bullies appear to be targeting young children specifically so if your kids are using any form of a smart device such as a phone, tablet or smart TV – they could be at risk.
Unbelievably dangerousThe damage that this insidious and disgusting game has already done is horrific. Last year both a 12-year-old girl in Argentina and a 16-year-old boy in Belgium apparently took their own lives while doing the Momo challenge.
More recently, an eight-year-old boy in Edinburgh was told to take a knife out of the kitchen drawer and hold it to his neck. His mother reported that he had been scared and suffering from nightmares after being exposed to it for months.
Other sickening ‘instructions’ that Momo has dished out to vulnerable young kids include:
- leaving the oven on overnight
- pouring bleach on themselves
- riding their bike headfirst into the wall
- putting screwdrivers into electrical sockets, and more.
It’s brainwashing our kidsThe Sun also reported that a five year-old girl from Cheltenham in the UK even cut off her long hair after being ‘brainwashed’ by Momo, who she encountered via YouTube videos.
And other kids have been too scared to tell their parents that they’ve seen Momo.“Her beautiful, blond hair had been hacked off, right down to the scalp, on both sides of her head. I burst into tears and felt sick to my stomach,” said the girl’s mother.
“My jaw dropped when she said ‘Momo made me do it’. She said that Momo wants everybody to be bald and made fun of her for having long hair. And Momo threatened to hurt her if she didn’t cut her hair off.”
A NZ mother discovered her two children were silently traumatised by the character after showing them a picture and asking if they knew what it was. Apparently, they’d been too scared to say anything as Momo had said she would kill them or their parents.
How to keep your kids safeThe terrifying thing about this Momo Challenge is that even if your child is accessing age-appropriate content, with child safety modes on, they can still be attacked. So it’s important to try and protect them at all costs.
Parents can also use this as a good opportunity to talk to their kids, or remind them about cyber safety in general.
Here are some tips for how to protect your kids from the Momo Challenge:
- Show them it’s not real – Sit down and show them where the original image came from. Explain that Momo doesn’t exist and that she’s not a real person and can’t harm them.
- Teach them about hackers – Explain about doxing, how people can access all kinds of information about people via the internet and use it against them. Talk about how people may appear to be someone online when they’re really someone else. Teach them not to hand out private information or photos to anyone online, or give their phone number to anyone they don’t know.
- Communicate with them regularly – Find out who they’ve been interacting with on their smart devices and games. Ask them what people are talking about at school. Teach them to love and not harm themselves.
- Tell them to speak up – Make sure they come to you if they see the Momo Challenge, so you can be sure they’re not engaging with it or are scared by it. Let them know that even if they have done something bad because of it they are to tell you. You love them and want to protect them no matter what.
- Check their devices – If you’re worried they’re in danger, as a parent you have a right to look at their phone messages and apps. Even if they’re angry with you, it could be necessary.
- Supervise and limit devices – Be cautious about letting kids, especially young ones, access apps like YouTube or online games without you supervising. Use Kids YouTube, restrictive mode and other safety locks wherever possible and also think about limiting screen time in general. Opt for other ways to view videos, like DVDs, instead.
MORE HERE: https://mumcentral.com.au/momo-challenge/?fbclid=IwAR1g6dluRqFwH73Edcik6ex_M1mXN4whq0GJP2aWhGCWmbgODOdMhnXlXz
Thanks to Nannee and: https://mumcentral.com.au