I normally don't get too concerned when I hear about these strange challenges on the news, however, since it's affected someone I know close to home, I thought I should get this information out there...

The "Momo Challenge" or "Momo Game" first appeared last Summer, but like most memes on the internet they quickly disappear as soon as they become popular. In August of last year police were investigating the influence of Momo after the death of a 12-year-old in Argentina.

The game uses an image of a sculpture by Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa called "Mother Bird" which was first on display at an art gallery in Tokyo back in 2016. Kids participating in the "challenge" contact a stranger that uses "Momo" to conceal themselves often using the Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp.

But recently Momo has been appearing in videos and video games. Just yesterday a friend of mine was messaging on Facebook about her daughter stumbling upon Momo in Fortnite. Momo told my friend's daughter to kill herself or else she was going to come and kill her family in their sleep. The daughter ended up sleeping with her parents that night.

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

"Even basic open source research suggests that 'Momo' is run by hackers who are looking for personal info," PSNI Craigavon wrote on Facebook. "The danger lies with your child feeling pressured to either follow the orders of ANY app via 'challenges,' or peer pressure in chat rooms and the like ... More important is that your child knows not to give out personal info to ANYONE they don't know, that no one has the right to tell them to, or make them do ANYTHING they don't want to."

This is on the heels of a disturbing trend coming from YouTube Kids where parents have been finding snippets within kids shows encouraging self harm.

What's to be done about this? My aforementioned friend said one of the great things about Momo is that now her daughter doesn't want to use her phone, which should make their dinner conversations more interesting.

Law enforcement is saying it is best to always supervise what your kids are playing and watching and to make sure the devices your children are using are restricted to age suitable content.

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