Momo and the World of Internet Hoaxes

I’m not going to lie, Momo is super creepy and when I heard about the “Momo Challenge,” my skin crawled. Why does the internet want to eat our children?! A quick Google search put my mind at ease. Momo isn’t real. REPEAT: MOMO ISN’T A THING. Take a deep breath and let the image of a Japanese horror sculpture melt from your mind and the fear of your child being stalked by a mysterious internet monster release your heart.

Momo has been going around since 2016 with zero definitive evidence of it actually existing. How does it keep persisting? What can we do to avoid unfounded fear-mongering? Let’s talk about it.

The internet is a big, deep, constantly changing thing that us adults just can’t wrap our heads around as well as our kids. That lack of control is so scary! It doesn’t help that schools, law enforcement, and news media are just as clueless as we are, and in their wish to help they’re actually hurting. The vast majority of Momo fear that you’re seeing in children is in response to seeing the statue in videos and news clips about the “challenge,” hearing about it from friends, and/or adult hype.

So what can we do?

Breathe. Research. Communicate.

The next time you see a Facebook post from a freaked out mom about the internet making their child speak backwards and rip apart couch cushions, take it with a grain of salt. Before you hit that “share” button spreading the fear, open up Google and do some research. When I Googled “Momo Challenge,” I was inundated with articles about the background, history, and falsehood of the hoax. Snopes.com is also a great resource for sussing out the truth from the fiction.

Most importantly, talk with your kids. If your children feel safe to talk to you about weird stuff they run into on the internet, they are less likely to fall victim to that weird stuff. Freaking out at the first sign of fear is going to make your child freak out. Be calm, be open, and be willing to dig in.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for a world with less stress and anxiety. Don’t give internet hoaxes a chance to take years off of your life. Stare Momo down and say, “Not today!” (But don’t really stare her down…she’s kind of the stuff of nightmares…)


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