The Momo Challenge

Ben+Ogles+%2811%29+stumbles+upon+%22Momo%22+while+browsing+YouTube.
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The Momo Challenge

Ben Ogles (11) stumbles upon

Ben Ogles (11) stumbles upon "Momo" while browsing YouTube.

Ben Ogles (11) stumbles upon "Momo" while browsing YouTube.

Ben Ogles (11) stumbles upon "Momo" while browsing YouTube.

River Herron, Staff Reporter

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The history of internet phenomenons encouraging and even leading to murder and suicides is more vast than one would think. “Slender Man,” released in 2012, is a creepy game in which the player must avoid a fictional horror character in order to make it out of the foggy woods. The game eventually influenced a stabbing in 2014 of a twelve-year-old girl in the hands of two of her classmates. The victim was subjected to nineteen stab wounds before being left in the woods alone. When questioned about the incident, the two told authorities they believed the only way to prevent Slender Man from harming their parents was to take the life of someone and prove their loyalty to him. The Russian born game, “Blue Whale,” hit the internet in 2016 and originated in a chat room online. The game gives players a 50 day agenda and a task for each day, these would consist of innocent things in the beginning like watching a scary movie in the middle of the night and then slowly flowed into acts of self harm. The games last command was for the player to take their own life, which led to 130 teen deaths that are rumored to be related to the game.

Nowadays life-endangering internet trends have died down. There’s a lot of controversy around fan-made YouTube videos directed at children. They’ve been described as creepy and weird through the lens of an adults eyes. It’s the way the characters are depicted, and the story lines of each video. Some even claim to be educational, but there is an absence of a focal point or underlying plot, there’s just no point. “Things are only creepy to us if we have a clear set of expectations about how they ought to be,” says Frank McAndrew, a psychology professor at Knox College. Kids can’t realize the warped reality that they’ve been subjected to because that’s all they’ve ever known. It’s a state of quandary that parents have been put in, because despite the videos making it through the strainer of YouTube Kids guidelines, there’s still something remotely disturbing about them.

While the sinister vibes begin to rise in YouTubes Kids videos, yet another life-threatening trend has begun to rise. The “Momo Challenge” is sweeping the internet and parents are terrified. A single image of a creepy figure is being used to scare kids across social media platforms. The image has been found interrupting children’s YouTube videos in the middle of Minecraft reenactments and Paw Patrol animations, threatening to appear in the middle of the night if the user fails to respond. YouTube says they have seen no evidence of the epidemic, but when it arises it will be removed. Facebook’s Whatsapp, a messaging social media has also been infected. Random users from all over the app message users, preferably kids, and asks them to complete tasks, almost like the Blue Whale Challenge. The anonymous user demands victims to commit acts of stabbing and tells them to find their parents pills and consume as many as they can, afterwards “Momo” makes them send a picture of evidence of the actions or else they’ll receive a message threatening to hurt them. “It’s messed up, I can’t imagine these things happening to me at the age in which it’s happening to these kids” Junior Caleb Childers says, who has a younger sister of his own that he fears for.