‘Momo Challenge,’ a Dangerous Viral Game, Prompts Warnings to Parents

NEW JERSEY -- A disturbing viral trend called the "Momo Challenge" centers around a creepy image of a woman. Children as young as 6 years old have reportedly been swept up into the challenge, which promises death to victims who don’t follow the orders of the character.

The Brick Township Board of Education, in New Jersey, sent home a warning letter stating, "the 'Momo Challenge' can be found on Facebook or through WhatsApp, and is disturbing in nature."

It starts out by challenging the receiver to perform small tasks and quickly "escalates to more serious violent acts and request photographs for proof.”

First-graders at Warren H. Wolf Elementary School, in Brick, have faced bullying and threats of violence because of "Momo," the Asbury Park Press reports.

Other school officials have been reacting quickly.

This includes Corpus Christi Montessori School, in Texas, which compared the ordeal to "Slender Man" — the  fictional horror character that inspired two 12-year-old girls to attack another girl, stabbing her 19 times in 2014. The victim survived.

In Colombia, a 12-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy killed themselves after participating in the challenge, the Daily Mail reports, citing local media.

The "game" starts when a person adds a phone number belonging to “Momo,” a woman with large eyes and a sharp grin. The participant is then sent various challenges before ultimately being told to kill themselves. If they do not, they are threatened with a curse, the Daily Mail reports.

The Brick Township letter offered the following takeaways for concerned parents: if your children already have social media accounts, you need to be talking to them about this, as well as smartly monitoring what's happening on their pages.

Websites such as the Child Mind Institute, Safe Search Kids and Parenting offer more information on monitoring children's social media use.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) . It is a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within your state.

5 comments

  • jsrant

    Children are not supposed to have Facebook pages, period. If you as a parent allow it then you are the problem. Stop thinking it’s all about me and star being a parent.

  • Lisa Marshinski

    So Facebook has kept this “momo” on for an extended period of time (I’ve known about this for awhile) and is knowingly aware of the dangers of kids killing themselves, yet is pulling conservative sites, gunsmith and repair instruction sites because of “public safety”. Facebook needs to be shut down!

    • gutterratt

      Sometimes they leave pages up as a snare. Dangerous people tend to be compulsive and have impulse control problems, obviously so, therefore social media can be a most excellent trap. But parents shouldn’t allow minors or anyone living under their roofs absolute secrets especially when it comes to social media. Transparency equals peace and security.

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