The Momo Challenge put internet safety in the spotlight with widespread news about a disturbing character with bulging eyes that was said to put children up to different challenges.
We asked professionals to weigh in on how to spot dangerous online activity and stop it.
The Co-Founders of Ho’oko Counseling Centers, Rhesa Kaulia and Edwina Reyes, joined Living808 to discuss what parents can do to prevent against emerging social media threats or resurfacing ones.
They walked us through what the Momo Challenge is, a type of social media challenge that originally surfaced in 2018 and resurfaced in 2019.
The Momo challenge can be found embedded in many on-line social networking, video sharing, and messaging platform applications. Most notable are the ever-popular YouTube, Facebook, and Whats App applications.
The Momo character has a gaunt and grotesque face with bulging eyes, and a bird body and legs, and is overall visually disturbing.
When a person interacts with the Momo account, it sends increasingly risky challenges, that range from facing fears to hurting or maiming oneself or others, and eventually committing suicide. If the challenges are not accepted,
Momo pressures and threatens the viewer, in cyber-bullying fashion, particularly young people who are already vulnerable, including those who are anxious, depressed, have low self-esteem and who desperately want to fit in with peers.
Parents should talk to your children about it.
Educate and discuss the dangers of participating in such challenges, as well as highlighting how powerful social media really is.
Work to create the relationship and environment that your child will WANT to access you with questions or concerns.
Regularly check their electronics, know what apps and social media accounts they are using, and for what purpose.
Red flags include odd behavior like anxiety, difficulty sleeping, having nightmares, intrusive thoughts, wearing long-sleeves during times disparate to the weather, etc.
If symptoms or odd behavior don’t resolve, seek professional help from a therapist who specializes in working with young people.
Left unaddressed, cyberbullying can result in more serious mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
Most people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Ho’oko Counseling Centers at 808-375-7712.