**NOTE: KBJR 6 is aware that the “Momo Challenge” is a hoax. Our story intent is to have parents discuss with their children that it is not real.
EAU CLAIRE, WI (WQOW) – The internet is full of crazy challenges, but it can be worrisome when it’s targeting children.
The Momo Challenge is resurfacing online, but what is it, and is it real or a hoax?
Chances are you’ve probably seen the challenge circulating on the internet. It’s geared towards getting kids to harm themselves, and it’s raising concerns, but where did it come from?
“The Momo Challenge really isn’t anywhere,” said Justin Patchin, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and a criminal justice professor at UW-Eau Claire. “There’s a lot of speculation that this is a thing. It started on WhatsApp this summer, and now its spread to reportedly being connected to Instagram, YouTube and pretty much any popular online environment. ”
Patchin said the way it supposedly works is someone messages a person on WhatsApp and then gives them tasks that would lead to them hurting themselves or even suicide.
“There is no clear evidence that an individual had a conversation with a particular person online encouraging them to commit suicide linked to Momo,” Patchin said.
Although there’s no proof the Momo Challenge is real, it is frightening for parents.
“Sometimes he’s left alone with his iPad when I’m cooking or in the car,” said Eau Claire mom April Curry.
Curry said she’s worried her toddler could end up seeing the Momo Challenge on the internet.
“I saw it just kind of online, and then kind of raised red flags because our son does watch some YouTube,” Curry said. “It was one of those things that kind of alerted me. I wanted to be careful of what he watched.”
Curry said since she saw the Momo Challenge online, she’s added more Disney apps on her iPad so she can have more control over what he’s watching.
“I think you just have to be careful and monitor what your kids are watching, not only the amount of hours that they’re watching but monitor what they can click on,” Curry said. “I know he’s clicked a few things and I’m going where is this coming from, and just to watch out for that.”
Patchin said it’s important to have these conversations and use the Momo Challenge as an opportunity to remind children about the dangers lurking online.