In the past few days, many people have been scared and paranoid about the Momo Challenge, which is supposedly a game hidden in various online content that encourages children to harm themselves and others. The question is, is it real and should we be concerned? The answers are both yes and no.
What is Momo Challenge?
The Momo Challenge is reportedly a game that is discreetly included Youtube videos and other online content that instructs its viewers, particularly children, to commit violence and self-harm. It has supposedly gone viral, enough for government authorities, such as the ones here in the Philippines, to investigate and issue warnings.
Is it true?
According to reports from various international media sites like CNN and BBC and local news outlets like ABS-CBN and GMA Network, the so-called Momo Challenge is most likely a hoax, as there has not been a conclusive evidence found to substantiate it. In fact, the terrifying image that has become the face of the Momo challenge is actually a sculpture by Japanese special effects company Link Factory.
Despite this, Youtube has issued a statement saying that all content in their platform related to the Momo Challenge are now demonetized (meaning they won’t receive ads and ad revenue) even those coming from news outlets.
Should you still be concerned?
While Momo challenge itself is most probably fake, parents and adults should still be vigilant about what kind of content their children watch and read online. Trolls might also take advantage of the Momo Challenge and create their own versions even though it might just be a hoax. Also, the Momo Challenge isn’t the first hoax of this nature, and it sure won’t be the last.
So, Momo challenge or not, we need to teach children and teens how to use the internet properly. Also, take time to set up children restrictions on your gadgets such as smartphones and website-blocking tools on your computers so children won’t be able to access content which may be harmful to them.
Also, with any new game that becomes viral, take time to learn and study it first before recommending it to others, especially to children. What may be entertaining to us as adults may be damaging to children and their developing minds. As responsible gamers, we should always be concerned not just about ourselves, but also about others as well.