A new disturbing challenge is making its way around social media and programs targeted to kids. The “Momo Challenge” asks children to do dangerous things, and it’s impacting children across the nation, even here in Hawaii.
A Big Island parent says she had been watching a childrens’ show on the “YouTube Kids” app with her two-year-old daughter when they found videos with the disturbing challenge.
She says two videos showed the main character uncharacteristically gouging its eyes out and then eating its parent’s heart. Then the unexpected happened.
“That character came on, and she’s creepy,” said Makalapua Alip, a parent, “She was saying ‘Fear Momo,’ and she’s like convincing… telling the kids, wait until your parents go to sleep, and take pills or commit suicide. She’s telling them to do all kinds of things.”
After that, she immediately deleted the app.
“It’s very concerning because kids… like my daughter mimics everything she sees in videos,” said Alip. “If I wasn’t there to catch that, I don’t know what I would do if something happened to her because of that. It’s very disheartening because my kids are my everything.”
Chris Kim with Crimestoppers says this is a bigger issue than people may think.
“It’s not only going on in Hawaii. It’s not only going on in the mainland. It’s actually going on internationally. There are stories across the whole world, globally, where people have followed through with the Momo challenge unfortunately.”
There have been deaths linked with children who followed through with what “Momo” tells them to do.
Kim says there’s a solution, but simply taking away your child’s device may not be the best tactic.
“We highly encourage parents to get involved in their childrens’ internet activity, as well as their social media use. Don’t be afraid to ask. You know, you’re the parent. Get involved,” said Kim.
He says you should also explain what’s going on to make sure that your child understands the situation. So if they see a video with the challenge in it, to disregard it and immediately report it to a parent.
“Sit down and talk with the children and basically educate them. Let them know that unfortunately there are these types of things out there. So in the event the child does see it that they’re not alarmed or startled,” said Kim.