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Thursday, May 26, 2022

MoMo Challenge just another fake news story

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So Momo seems to have taken over the world, children are scared, parents are worried and even more scared.

School’s have released warnings, apparently the police have issued advice and local councils have warned of the dangers of the Momo challenge, But here Police Hour is fact-checking. It is definitely fake news.

The Momo Challenge has the exact same characteristics of the Blue Whale Challenge, which was also proven to be fake news.

The story of momo started with news that the character momo would hack into your WhatsApp and sets children dangerous challenges to harm themselves. (Anyways what are children aged three to six doing with WhatsApp in the first place.

But no one has actually been hacked by momo, and the fear and image has spread via social media leading parents to show their children a picture of momo asking them if they’d seen her and warning them not to listen to her, prompting young children to head to school telling friends about momo, creating a fear amongst children, creating nightmares and then creating a fear momo was going to harm them.

Thus creating blame when a young child cut their own hair, either the child or the parent would blame momo, prompting national headlines and forcing schools and local authorities to warn of the dangers of momo.

When in fact there is no such thing as momo, apart from a simple image that circulated, frightening children and parents who feared Momo would target their children.

But come on what three to six year old has their own mobile phone and WhatsApp in the first place? Surely if you think it’s going to happen via your phone this is a great reason not to let your child even play on your own phone.

Momo has been found online and has appeared in edited copies of cartoons such as Peppa Pig to create fear amongst children, who had never seen the video but when parents asked them if they had seen the image they produced of momo they remembered the split-second image that appeared within Peppa Pig further scaring parents.

This created lots of news coverage which then followed by schools and the police warning about the risk that children could face with the momo challenge.

So who is Momo? 

Momo began in February as far as Police Hour is aware when a momo story went viral on social media, this was a fake news article, this brought about hundreds of thousands of shares and then news outlets began reporting on momo, Some schools have even gone to the lengths of holding hour-long assemblies to warn of the dangers of momo, but really this justs feeds into the fake news and misinformation spreading.

Momo apparently contacted children by WhatsApp account which claimed to be momo, and the image of momo would appear on the phone at random.

Children are then promoted to save momo as a telephone contact and then receive a call from momo and they are asked to carry out some tasks but they are not allowed to tell other members of the family.

But in truth momo has only appeared in edited versions of YouTube videos such as Peper Pig, therefore when parents asked the children if they had seen momo they answered yes because they had in fact seen an image within the cartoon causing parents to fear momo had contacted their children.

Back with the news that momo was now linked to 130 deaths in Russa which caused fear and playground chatter amongst parents, calls to schools and even the police when their child had done something naughty, blaming momo.

Momo is a photo of a sculpture by Japanese special-effects company Link Factory.

What Snopes say

Fact-checking website¬†Snopes also suggests that the story is more hype or hoax but the reality is the images could cause distress and fear to children. the story was “far more hype or hoax than reality”, but warned the images could still cause distress to children.

“The subject has generated rumours that in themselves can be cause for concern among children,” wrote David Mikkelson on the site.

The police have never received any reports of any children harming themselves which is connected to the momo challenge.

There is no evidence to suggest 130 people died within Russa who took part in the momo challenge either.

So what should i do as a parent?

The great thing about momo is it allows parents the opportunity to highlight and educate children about internet safety.

but it is advised that parents should not create alarm and should be very careful about the news articles they share with children.

As you’ve seen with momo it can create fear, or better still don’t let the little ones use your phone.

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Trevor Sherwood
Trevor Sherwood
Trevor Sherwood is the editor and news reporter covering national and international news crime and policing news. Tweet your news and views to @TrevSherwoodPH

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