Parents concerned about so-called viral ‘Momo Challenge’ threat
The so-called "Momo Challenge" has become something of a nightmare for parents.
Momo is a fictional character with black hair and bulging eyes that reportedly encourages kids to harm themselves or others.
While News 12 is told that she first appeared on Whatsapp and YouTube about two years ago, many are reporting that the character is suddenly popping up in the middle of videos that are supposed to be child-friendly.
Parent Linnette Benitez says she saw one of the videos while her daughter was scrolling through games.
And child psychiatrist Manuel Lopez-Leon says she is not alone. In the last week alone, he says dozens of parents have asked him what to do about it.
“They need to monitor and supervise what their kids are doing and they need to have an honest conversation about Momo,” he says.
He went on to say that it’s important that parents make sure their children are not giving out personal information to strangers, and to always know where they are and who they're with.
While he calls the "Momo Challenge" disturbing, he says it's also an opportunity to talk about suicide, one of the leading causes of death for teens and young adults. He advises parents to ask their kids how they're feeling, be aware of any sudden changes in their behavior and to allow them to express themselves freely.
YouTube responded to News 12’s requests for comment saying that there is no evidence that the challenge is on its site. A representative informed News 12 that the website would remove videos that violate its policies.