Published: 2019-03-04 10:42
Last Updated: 2019-03-04 10:48
An online game, known as ‘Momo’, commands players to send a message to an unknown number, where violent images and threats are sent back if the players refuse to follow the rules.
Momo follows the infamous footsteps of other horror-themed games with similar fatal outcomes, such as Slender Man, Maryam, and Blue Whale.
Warnings about the ‘Momo challenge’ swept Facebook and other social platforms, as parents worried about the videos that encourage children to hurt themselves or do other harmful tasks such as turning on stoves without telling their parents.
There is no indication that children are being driven to suicide since the story went viral. YouTube said previously it had no evidence of videos promoting the challenge, and since has demonetized content featuring the signature Momo image that has cropped up the moment the hysteria bubbled into the mainstream.
We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge: We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.— YouTube (@YouTube) February 27, 2019
The reality is that the ‘Momo challenge’ is just a viral hoax.
In fact, it is a statue called ‘Mother Bird’ made by artist Keisuke Aisawa who works with the Japanese special effects company Link Factory. Images of the statue from a gallery display first began circulating as early as 2016.
Last year, news reports started cropping up in Latin America warning of a “WhatsApp terror game”, starting with a suspected suicide of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina. Police never confirmed a connection to the game. By September, the news blew up all around the world about this challenge.
Although the game turned out to be a hoax, panicked parents made it worse. So how can you make sure your child is safe online?
Set up parental controls
Talk to your children
Do your research