It seems as though the “Momo Challenge” might be Facebook's latest fake news gone viral. You might have seen Momo, a Jigsaw lookalike puppet, while scrolling social media. Articles claimed Momo would pop up in children’s YouTube videos, or even in their phone messages, with instructions that teach kids to commit suicide.
"'Momo' itself is an innocuous sculpture created by the artist Keisuke Aisawa for the Japanese special-effects company Link Factory. The real title of the artwork is Mother Bird, and it was on display at Tokyo’s horror-art Vanilla Gallery back in 2016. After some Instagram photos of the exhibit were posted to the Reddit channel Creepy, it spread, and the 'Momo challenge' urban legend was born," describes The Atlantic.
If this sounds a little too Legend of Bloody Mary, you could be right, but the jury is still out. Parents are still wary because there is another social media offender out there targeting children—YouTube Kids.
Kids are obsessed with YouTube these days but there have been reports of disturbing activity on the platform recently. A mom, Free Hess, claims she “found clips on YouTube and YouTube Kids that gave children instructions on how to kill themselves,” reports CNN.
Hess says another mom made her aware of the cartoon video that cuts halfway through “footage of a man in sunglasses telling children how to slit their wrists.” She reported the video for removal, but it took YouTube a week rid it from the site. Her claims don’t stop there, either. She allegedly found “videos glorifying not only suicide but sexual exploitation and abuse, human trafficking, gun violence and domestic violence.” In one video, inspired by "Minecraft,” a school shooting is depicted. Yikes!
YouTube put out this statement:
"We appreciate people drawing problematic content to our attention, and make it possible for anyone to flag a video. Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don't belong in the app are removed.
"We've also been investing in new controls for parents including the ability to hand pick videos and channels in the app. We are making constant improvements to our systems and recognize there's more work to do."
Will you be monitoring and/or limiting your child’s screen time with the news of the distressing content being circulated?
(Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
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