WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) An internet challenge that tried to prompt kids to do dangerous things eventually leading to suicide has re-surfaced.
(Various online sources)
Officials warned parents about the "Momo" challenge last year. Now, there have been reports of the scary looking creature appearing in videos such as "Peppa Pig" and "Fortnite."
One Kansas mother said her children were watching a video on YouTube when "Momo" popped up.
"...it told them to grab a knife and cut there head open . and so many other stuff," said Daniela Mejia in a Facebook post.
Daniel Timmermeyer said he researched "Momo" after his 12-year-old daughter came home talking about a scary face she heard about from a friend.
"From what I understand the videos start out playful then a few minutes in tell kids to go to the medicine cabinet and swallow as many pills as they can then turn on the oven and get inside. It also says that if you tell your parents it will come to your house and kill your family and then the person watching the video. This is one of the most disturbing things I have ever heard," he said in an email to Eyewitness News.
Momo is a statue that was created by a Japanese artist. But the striking features of the young woman with long black hair, large bulging eyes, a wide smile and bird legs can be frightening to most who see it. It's believed 'Momo' is run by hackers who are looking for personal information, but the dangerous lies in what "Momo" is asking people to do.
"The danger lies with your child feeling pressured to either follow the orders of ANY app via 'challenges', or peer pressure in chat rooms and the like. This is merely a current, attention grabbing example of the minefield that is online communication for kids. In 2017 it was 'Blue Whale', now it's 'Momo'. There'll be something else next," said the Police Service in Northern Island in a Facebook post.
The National Online Safety, an organization based out of the United Kingdom, pinned a graphic to its Twitter page with the title, "What parents need to know about MOMO."
The agency said as of Tuesday, it had been contacted by hundreds of schools and parents concerned about the challenge. Some tips NOS provided include telling your child that "Momo" isn't real, putting device settings and parental controls on their devices, reporting and blocking the inappropriate content and talking to your child regularly about what yor watching.
Wichita psychologist Dr. Molly Allen agrees.
"As a parent, you want to set up an environment where your kid has a healthy amount of balance in their life and that means getting away from the screen sometimes," said Allen. "So, even if your kid pitches a fit about that and they insist they gotta work on their Fortnite skills. Say no, put the screen down go outside and play."