"Momo Challenge" Pushes Kids To Commit Suicide Via Whatsapp

The Momo challenge is a viral phenomenon that takes place on social networks and especially on the WhatsApp application. Adolescents around the world are taking on the dangerous challenges of Momo, a hideous character worthy of a horror movie with terrifying eyes, deformed smile and grimy hair.

What is the Momo challenge?
The Momo Challenge is a kind of game where teenagers are contacted by the character of Momo and are challenged to follow exactly what he asks them to do. Momo would also send them violent and bloody images in addition to threats to incite them to obey him.

Challenges include getting up late at night, watching terrifying videos, listening to depressing music, mutilating oneself, or doing dangerous things like lying on a train. As for the threats, they consist for example in the disclosure of personal information that Momo would have procured.

For example, some of the victims of this challenge reported receiving frightening images or calls from Momo where they heard only terrifying sounds or cries. Others report that Momo threatened to appear with them in the middle of the night and curses them. In more extreme cases, Momo would have sent them a series of challenges to accomplish, the ultimate of which would have been to commit suicide.

A challenge more than dangerous
When a 12-year-old girl was found hanging in her garden in Buenos Aires on July 29, the police quickly made the link with the Momo challenge. According to the investigation, the girl had intended to share the video of her suicide on social networks, pushed by Momo. A video that many of his classmates would indeed have watched.

The Momo Challenge is similar to the Blue Whale Challenge, which from 2015 to 2017 would have led to the suicide of more than a hundred young people around the world. This "game" consisted of having the victim go through a series of challenges over a period of 50 days after which she had to kill herself.

Gatineau police sound the alarm
In Gatineau, Quebec, where it is reported that a young man was approached by Momo to take up the challenge, the police sound the alarm.

According to Antoine Normand, cybersecurity expert in Gatineau, "it is certain that there is not only one Momo account". The expert strongly recommends that anyone who would be communicating with a Momo account immediately block the number and reset the device completely.

Increasingly crazy challenges on social networks
With the development of digital tools in our society, the relationship to the image is changing and people are more and more likely to exhibit themselves. We constantly film and photograph everything we do, which we publish in a quest for recognition.

We also have a natural tendency to mimic what we see on our screens. Adolescents in particular, because of their need to be integrated and their desire to feel part of a group, are particularly apt to imitate what they see. For fear of exclusion, teens are apt to take part in all sorts of games that look like cape or not cape, and to go further in the accomplishment of challenges of all kinds.

On the other hand, these new digital tools make that one finds oneself more often alone behind one's screen, and one then has a greater propensity to accomplish things that one would not dare to do in other circumstances .

Unfortunately, there are also more and more dangerous challenges in which teens, while filming themselves, are testing themselves and their limits, oblivious to the fact that they put their lives in danger. This is the case of the Fire challenge, which consists of igniting a part of the body, or the Tide Pods Challenge, where participants swallow a tablet of detergent.

The vain quest for popularity
Regardless of the dangerousness of these games circulating on the internet, the teenagers who engage in them, sometimes at the risk of their lives, have only one objective: to obtain as much consideration as possible, to shine, to to be seen, to gain attention and glory.

Advice for all parents
Discuss these irresponsible games with your child, show him pictures of people who have been hurt by taking part in them. Keep an eye on your child's actions and other activities for unusual behavior.
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