On February 27, 2019, the Hawaii Ministry of Education sent parents a memo outlining the growing concern over the potentially dangerous social media threat to youth.
This type of viral challenge attempts to entice young social media users to engage in a suggested activity and encourages them to post photographs or videos of the results. Some of these challenges are benign; However, one case in particular has potentially been linked to suicides.
The challenge says "Momo" is "extremely dangerous, it encourages children to disappear for 72 hours or even to commit suicide," according to a newspaper article.
According to various sources, the Momo Challenge is a form of widespread cyberbullying on platforms such as WhatsApp and YouTube, which allows users to receive threatening, anonymous messages related to images of Momo, a laughing, dark-haired, black-haired figure. eyes bulging.
Momo messages would force young people to engage in perilous activities, such as taking pills, stabbing others, and even committing suicide, according to Snopes, a source of information about Internet myths and rumors. .
In the letter to parents and guardians, the head of the Hawai'i DOE complex area wrote: "Experts say that although the challenge seems to be more of a fear than a fact, it is important for parents to talk about it. to their children. Parents can ask their child if they have seen anything that has upset or worried them online and explain to them that online events are often misleading or frightening and that some things are only designed to draw attention. "
The letter urges parents and guardians to review the safety and security features of their children's design online and to be proactive and "create a climate of openness and transparency about their children's online activities" .
The Momo Challenge has been cited as a potential link to suicides around the world.
A young 12-year-old Argentina was motivated by the "Momo Game" to hang herself from a tree in her family's garden. Although the authorities never confirmed that the girl's suicide was encouraged by her participation in the "game", the victim had filmed her activities with her phone immediately before her suicide. The authorities suspected that someone had encouraged her to commit suicide and had investigated a "friend" of social media. The police did not find the person.
The deaths of two young men in India have also been linked to the "Momo Game Challenge" last year, "although once again, no definitive link has been documented," he said. reported Snopes.
Around the same time, the suicides of a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy in Colombia were also reported as potentially related to participation in the challenge.