Editor’s Warning: This article features disturbing content and mentions of suicide.
The viral “Momo Challenge” is resurfacing around the world. Schools and police warning parents to be hypervigilant of the content their children are consuming.
Although reports of the ‘Momo Challenge’ have been floating around for some time, the trend recently made the news again after a Facebook post from the Police Service of Northern Island. Police warning parents the challenge is concealing itself in harmless-looking games and YouTube videos.
The bug-eyed girl with matted hair and wraithlike limbs that’s associated with Momo is actually a sculpture made by Keisuke Aisawa of the Link Factory, a Japanese company that makes horror film props and special effects, according to a report by Rolling Stone.
Though the actual origins of the ‘Momo Challenge’ itself are unclear, it reportedly made its rounds in the Spanish-speaking world first and reportedly didn’t become popular in the U.S. until July 2018.
The challenge is now starting to target children through YouTube videos such as Peppa Pig and Fortnite videos. The Momo image is being edited into the videos by hackers. That image is either giving kids messages directly or telling them to text a number through the Facebook-owned app, WhatsApp. Then the number will send various instructions on challenges they need to complete or else their families will be hurt and they will be cursed. The various challenges range from self-harm and ultimately end with a directive to commit suicide.
However, it’s important to note that it’s not clear if there have ever been any confirmed suicides connected to the games. Some have suggested that the warnings about the game may just be a hoax.