Recently, people might have heard about something called the Momo Challenge. Supposedly, it involves a character called Momo encouraging children to perform more and more dangerous tasks through the Internet that culminates in encouraging them to commit suicide. Should the victims refuse to follow through, they are met with threats, which may or may not be accompanied by gory and otherwise disturbing images. As for Momo, well, suffice to say that the character is very memorable, so much so that those who have seen the purported image should have no problem recognizing her.
Is the Momo Challenge Dangerous On Its Own?
With that said, there is no indication that the Momo Challenge is real. It is possible that there have been some opportunists who have latched on to the supposed phenomenon for the purpose of frightening others, but none of the authorities in any of the countries in which it has been reported have managed to connect it to any victims in spite of the more sensationalistic reporting on the matter. For that matter, it should be mentioned that this isn’t the first time that the Momo Challenge has popped up in the news, seeing as how the reports reached their peak in July of 2018, faded for some time, but have since managed to make something of a resurgence in February of 2019.
As for Momo, well, the character is indeed pretty disturbing, which is perhaps unsurprising when she is a statue called “Mother Bird” that was designed by a Japanese special effects artist for display in a Japanese art gallery that specializes in horror-themed art. Inspiration-wise, the character is supposed to be an ubume, which is a kind of Japanese youkai that came into existence because of changing views on the mother’s role in the act of reproduction. In short, an ubume is said to have come into existence when a pregnant mother died either before, during, or after childbirth, with the result that she becomes a ghost seeking to care for her child. In some cases, the ghost will seek to buy goods for her living child from various stores, whereas in other cases, the ghost will seek assistance from the living while carrying the corpse of her dead child in her arms. On top of this, it should be mentioned that the ubume has been associated with a bird-like youkai called the ubumetori, which would explain why “Mother Bird” has such an avian look to her.
Unfortunately, while the Momo Challenge isn’t real, that isn’t the same as saying that it is harmless. As mentioned earlier, the reports of the phenomenon could inspire malicious individuals to use it as a way to frighten or otherwise cause harm to other people. Moreover, the more that the Momo Challenge is talked about, the higher the chances that it will be heard by someone who is already vulnerable, thus increasing the chances of something bad happening to them.
Why Should Parents See the Momo Challenge As a Reminder to Watch Out Anyways?
With that said, parents might also want to take the Momo Challenge as a reminder to pay attention to what their children are doing on the Internet. The Momo Challenge isn’t real. Furthermore, it has received so much interest because of misdirected anxiousness of parents. However, it is important to remember that there are real threats out there on the Internet, which can sometimes be found in the strangest of places.
Of course, there is an issue in that parents need to make sure that they are focused on the right threats instead of getting caught up by the latest examples of moral panic to sweep the nation. As a result, whenever they are pointed towards news reports of concerning phenomena that they have never heard of, they should maintain a sense of skepticism instead of believing it right away. Generally speaking, this means looking into the news report to see if there is any truth to them instead of letting themselves get carried away by their understandable sense of concern. By doing so, interested individuals will be able to dedicate their time and attention to actual threats to their children’s wellbeing, thus enabling them to parent better than otherwise possible.
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