With a simple touch of your smart phone, children can have access to a terrifying online challenge —that can even be life threatening.
It’s called the “Momo Challenge” where players can take part through social media apps, like Facebook and WhatsApp.
It may be presumed to be a game at first, but it eventually escalates, demanding players to perform dangerous tasks that can allegedly lead to suicide.
“This worries me because I have a son who’s a minor and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him,” said a local resident.
The game starts like this: Players contact a “Momo” profile on social media that has an image of a character, and for 50 days, it commands the players to perform a series of dangerous tasks.
Eventually, it threatens players to obey the tasks by hurting themselves — and makes them send pictures as proof.
It’s a challenge that’s concerning both parents and schools.
Sara Garza, guidance and counseling administrator at the Brownsville Independent School District, says so far, only one conversation has been heard of students knowing about this challenge.
“Anytime that there is a threat, whether it’s written, verbal, implied or a threat of self-harm, the campus administration—the counselor, the campus police officer, the nurse— they will conference with the student and the parent to address the issue,” Garza said. “We have to be vigilant. We have to continue to be vigilant to monitor what our children post, what they are receiving or remarks of self-harm.”
Garza says dangerous online games, like the Blue Whale Challenge, and now the Momo Challenge, can lead to self-harm, prompting local school districts and law enforcement in the area to be on alert for the safety and wellbeing of students and the public.
The Harlingen Police Department advises parents to stay engaged and monitor their children to help them stay alert on what they do online.