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The Momo challenge

Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast

Mikayla Cantine, Staff Writer

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Recently, a new challenge occurred on the internet, but this time, possibly causing detrimental effects. Parents are now worried for their children’s safety after the recent “Momo” outbreak. Momo is a character with black hair and bulging eyes that has supposedly been popping up on YouTube when kids are watching videos. The actual challenge itself is played over a free texting app known as WhatsApp. The terrifying character convinces vulnerable children to contact her frequently in order to accomplish tasks. Supposedly, if the victim refuses to complete these activities, they are threatened with the harm of family members in the process or even death (mirror.co.uk).  

On February 26, a twitter user going by the name of Wanda Maximoff tweeted, “Warning! Please read, this is real,” with an attached screenshot of a Facebook post reading, “There is this thing called ‘Momo’ that’s instructing kids to kill themselves. INFORM EVERYONE YOU CAN.” This message had been retweeted over 22,000 times, spreading the news and the picture of “Momo” across the internet. Along with this, local news outlets have spread the information, as well as Kim Kardashian who posted a warning about the creepy character to her 129 million Instagram followers (theatlantic.com). 

The last instruction from “Momo” is suicide. An Argentinian suicide case may be linked to this challenge, involving a 12-year-old killing herself. It is claimed to have made it into YouTube videos in the UK such as “Peppa Pig.” Parents are encouraged to watch YouTube with their kids as opposed to sending them off with the application, risking an encounter (mirror.co.uk).  

Despite these claims, there is no evidence that indicates that any suicide cases have been linked to this incident. A YouTube spokeswoman addressed the issue by announcing, “Contrary to press reports, we have not received any evidence of videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube. Content of this kind would be in violation of our policies and removed immediately” (mirror.co.uk). Additionally, there have not been any reports of any children taking their life after participating in this challenge (theatlantic.com).  

One mom in North Carolina recorded a video of her six-year-old daughter, Dalyla Carroll, singing a tune that she claims to have learned from Momo. She repeats, “Momo, Momo’s gonna kill you. Momo, Momo, Momo’s gonna kill you. If you see her in the hallway, she will kill you.” Her mom hopes to spread awareness of this song and the possible life-threatening “game” (mirror.co.uk).  

At this timeanother song was found according to parents, with the lyrics, “At night she’ll come, when you’re in bed. In the morning, you’ll be dead.” (mirror.co.uk).  

The actual picture of Momo is a sculpture created by Keisuke Aisawa for the Japanese special-effects company, Link Factory. This piece of art, known as Mother Bird, was on display at Tokyo’s horror art Vanilla Gallery in 2016 (theatlantic.com). The sculpture was inspired by the Japanese horror story of a woman who died while giving birth and reemerged as a bird to haunt the place where she perished (kwtx.com).  

Some compare this issue to the recent craze of teens eating toxic Tide Pods, since they both were reported to lead to death, but they were proven as hoaxes. Others continue to look out for any suspicious behaviors in their children, believing in the chances of “Momo” taking control of their child’s life. 

After the uncontrollable behavior on the internet involving this sculpture, Aisawa felt responsible and decided to take charge of the situation as best as he could. He exclaims, “The children can be reassured Momo is dead. She doesn’t exist, and the curse is gone” (kwtx.com). 

Although Aisawa is happy and his work has been seen by many across the globe, he realizes it is for the wrong reason. He has also received multiple death threats as well as other artists who were mistaken as the creator of Momo. All this drama lead Aisawa to his ultimate decision to destroy the sculpture, only leaving one of the eyes to use for an upcoming project. “I have no regrets that it is gone,” he announces (kwtx.com). 

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