The Truth Behind Momo

Photo credit: PSNI Craigavon

Photo credit: PSNI Craigavon

Momo is a fictional character that people are finding in their children YouTube video(s). This character is saying horrible things to children such as, “You will die”. This is scaring a lot of parents and people have gone through the motions to check their children’s’ youtube materials. YouTube has spent a lot of time responding to fear that parents have. They have reassured that the Momo is nothing but a urban myth however they are not taking fear of parents lightly and are working to make the kids YouTube channel safer

PSNI Cragon says, “Even basic open source research suggests that 'Momo' is run by hackers who are looking for personal info. Whatever or whoever is behind it, there is no disputing the content being sent is horrendous. The set up can come from countless other apps- anything with a chat function. A 'curse contact' sends a number and tells you to contact them on Whatsapp. “ In their post, they also share the “full body of Momo”

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They also state that the videos are real. One video of such interaction in America they’ve seen shows an ominous sounding voice recording being sent to a child telling them to take a knife to their own throat. Another threatens family if a 'challenge' is not completed. It's chilling viewing. There are numerous variations and of course now imitators. 

The YouTube Creator blog was updated yesterday to state a few things for families to know what actions they have taken and are taking in the following months.

“Over the past week, we disabled comments from tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior. These efforts are focused on videos featuring young minors and we will continue to identify videos at risk over the next few months. Over the next few months, we will be broadening this action to suspend comments on videos featuring young minors and videos featuring older minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior.” (YouTube Creator)

Some parents including Mindy Slavinski-Bjarkman of the “Joshua Slavinski “Be Good and Do Good.” are asking their children if they’ve seen this character.

Many parents are saying their children don’t even know what Momo is and others are saying their children have seen her before. Valerie Wardlow mentioned in the comments that she actually asked her children and they said yes they’ve seen videos of Momo.

She mentioned in a one on one interview that her children both saw it. “My other son said scary and asked me if I wanted to see it. I did and I told him not to watch it again and if it comes up again. Let me know.” (Valerie) She also emphasized that it’s so horrible that these children have to see such a disgusting sight. “Poor children that could be Terrified at nighttime after seeing the ugly bugling eyes”

With this scary thing going around youtube, parent may ask what is YouTube doing to prevent these channels from creating more material to scare and hurt children. They are removing those channels permanently and taking other actions. “No form of content that endangers minors is acceptable on YouTube, which is why we have terminated certain channels that attempt to endanger children in any way. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges targeting any audience are also clearly against our policies. We will continue to take action when creators violate our policies in ways that blatantly harm the broader user and creator community. Please continue to flag these to us.” (YouTube)

The Nashville News also shared YouTube responses and wanted to make sure people understood the difference between the WhatsApp and YouTube scares. “For clarity, it is important to note the "Momo Challenge" has been associated with reporting on WhatsApp. Hess's warnings on suicide instructions and other violence were associated with reporting on YouTube Kids. These are two related, but separate reports in the national media.” (Nashville Fox 17)

Momo first appeared on WhatsApp in July of 2018. There was a report saying, “Momo is said to be similar to Blue Whale, which was linked to at least 130 teen deaths across Russia, in that a controller also encourages youngsters to harm themselves after sending them violent images via the messaging app.” (Metro UK) The main goal here by YouTube is to do damage control and they can’t if people don’t report videos so be sure to let them know what’s happening and protect your children!