Dangerous viral challenge targeting children

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A warning for parents with young children, stemming from the spread of a dangerous viral challenge that encourages hiding the truth from authority and self-harm.

The Momo challenge is dominating news headlines, mainly because of the dangers it poses to young children.

This challenge has been recycled over the years. 

The most recent version appears in the middle of popular children’s videos and encourages them to perform dangerous activities, and if they tell an adult their families would be harmed. 

“Last night we had a conversation about it. I asked him has there been anything creepy that has come across the screen while he was watching any YouTube videos”, said Leah Amos, who recently completed the MBA program at UL Lafayette.

During her studies, she would sometime allow her 9-year-old son to navigate YouTube alone, but with guidelines.

“He did see Momo in a thumbnail and he said that it was a scary face but he decided not to click on it”, Amos said.

Despite it going viral on social media, the “game” has only been linked to one death; the unfortunate suicide of a 12-year-old girl 2018.

Leon Winters is a Social Worker and owner of Winter’s Mental Health and Consulting says he tells his patients, “Anything someone is telling you to keep away from your parents is not real and it’s actually done for the sole purpose of harming yourself or someone else in the process.”

He says aside from monitoring online activity parents should look for several signs that a child may be dealing with the stress of the dangerous Momo game or other life challenges.

“Most children will isolate and probably keep to themselves when playing on their devices for extended periods of time which is linked to depression. They would sometimes become irritable depending on the age if you’re removing the device or trying to structure a time when they should not play the game” Winters said.

Some of the things kids are told to do during this game are extremely dangerous; from hurting a friend to taking their own life.

If your child has thoughts of suicide, you can call 1-800-273-TALK(8255). 

Or text 741-741. This text line isn’t just for suicide prevention, you can text for any painful emotion you need help dealing with.

The figure that has been used as the face of this game is a piece of Japanese artwork at a Tokyo horror museum.

There have been no connections made between the artist and the Momo challenge.

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