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The Momo Challenge is Spinning a Dangerous Web for Kids that Can Lead to Suicide

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 20, 2019 13:35

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This social media game can't be considered a 'game.' The Momo Challenge is potentially life-threatening for impressionable children-- who must be warned about it.

This one’s bad -- really, really bad!! Kids have jumped on the band wagon to play a new social media game that could potentially, in the worst case scenario, lead to suicide.

I love what technology can do but as the saying goes, 'If it’s strong enough to help you, it's strong enough to hurt you.'

The latest negative twist of the technology age is targeted at kids. It's called the Momo Challenge. A ghoulish face with huge bug eyes is the hook used to reel children in. The girl (I think it’s a girl) resembles an alien. She unpredictably pops up on social media apps like Facebook or WhatsApp. I would not be surprised if the Momo designer determined that an out-of this-world face would spark interest from young minds—like computer games do. An article in in WSAZ.com from a TV station in Mingo County, W. Virginia calls the alien likeness ‘spooky: I call it downright creepy.

The Rancine Unified School District in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sent a warning letter out to parents on Friday. Apparently, the so-called challenge can start with a simple suggestion like getting up in the middle of the night. However, that seemingly harmless act progresses onto dangerous dares.

The Racine Unified School District Chief of Communications and Community Engagement Stacy Tapp said, “It encourages students to do different actions, to do different challenges, and they can become dangerous, even going as far as suggesting that they commit suicide.”

The Momo Challenge started last summer and fall, fell off for a while but recently resurfaced in all its ugliness.

Tragically, the Momo Challenge is said to have been responsible for the death by suicide of of a 12 year old girl in Argentina.

The jolting image was taken from the works of a Japanese artist with no connection to the Momo Challenge. Investigators say if you see the image on social media, ignore it.

When users communicate with “Momo” via a phone number, Momo replies with threats and violent images if the user refuses to follow orders like self-harming, watching horror movies or eventually committing suicide.

Parents cannot monitor children 24/7, but they must talk with their kids about the danger of any involvement with Momo. A good idea would be to put a sticker of the Momo image on the computer, phone or tablet with an X across the face -- kind of like a poison warning sticker.

The world is hard enough and negative enough for kids to deal with. This type of ‘challenge’ is the worst type of cyber bullying. It is downright immoral and illegal to encourage harm or suicide.

And it must be underscored that impressionable young minds don’t fully understand the finality of death. That’s why violent video games are so popular. Youth often thinks they are invincible. It is frightening to think that anyone could design programs that could potentially harm and worse yet, kill our kids. 

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 20, 2019 13:35

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Schools suffer from falling plaster, outdated technoloy

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