Forget Momo, well-meaning adults are the real scare
You’d think if a hoax was going around scaring kids, the worst thing you could do as an adult would be to treat it as a real thing, thus scaring kids even more.
But that’s what’s happened as the ‘Momo Challenge’ has returned. This urban myth claims online videos aimed at children are being 'hijacked’ (somehow?) to include a character called 'Momo’ who encourages children to hurt or kill themselves or others. Disturbing stuff indeed – if there was any evidence at all it was real
“The Samaritans and the NSPCC have dismissed the claims, saying that while there is no evidence that the Momo challenge has initially caused any harm itself, the ensuing media hysteria could now be putting vulnerable people at risk by encouraging them to think of self-harm…
"The rumour mill appears to have created a feedback loop, where news coverage of the Momo challenge is prompting schools or the police to warn about the supposed risks posed by the Momo challenge, which has in turn produced more news stories warning about the challenge.”
So, a combination of news reports from publishers hungry for clicks about a topic people are searching for, plus concerned parents, teachers and police unquestioningly passing on the warning, has turned a hoax into something that little bit more real. That in turn has made the whole thing more widely known, and scarier for kids.
If you’re a parent, the best thing you can do is assure your child the Momo Challenge isn’t a real thing, and that people are getting scared over nothing. Encourage them to let you know if they see anything that worries or scares them online – that’s just good parenting – but it seems it’s not just children who need a lesson in responsible, safe internet use.