In August 2018 Family Insights published an article, The MOMO Game: Understanding the Risks
The MOMO challenge is considered a form of cyberbullying that spreads through social media services such as WhatsApp, and mobile phones. The users are contacted by an online predator with an unknown phone number and an image of MOMO, a young woman with bulging eyes and other distorted features and then instructed to perform a series of dangerous tasks such as suicide or self harm. Refusal to do so is met with threats to the user and their families.
Messages are subsequently accompanied by frightening or violent images.
It appears that young children are still being disturbed by the MOMO phenomenon with writer and author Kasey Edwards publishing an article on February 18: ‘Nine year olds caught in terrifying ‘Momo challenge’.
While on school camp her daughter and friends were talking about the idea that ‘a malign character who could control and kill them at will.’
Edwards outlines some of the proactive actions parents can take as well as those in response to hearing about MOMO from their child. Depending on the age of the child it is highly likely that they believe what they’ve been told about the challenge rather than understanding that it is a hoax.
So what should parents do? Have a conversation with your child about whether they’ve heard about the MOMO Challenge. Be aware of any changes in behaviour that may indicate your child is being harassed or bullied online and use the Family Insights App to help you do this.
The book ’The Parents’ Survival Guide to Children, Technology and the Internet’ also has a chapter devoted to Cyberbullying and Cyber Abuse which includes signs that your child is being cyberbullied as well as research-backed advice to help you tackle issues as a family.