Child therapist reacts to ‘Momo Challenge’ and other online dangers

RIEGELWOOD, NC (WWAY) — Have you heard of the Momo challenge? Parents have reported frightening and potentially dangerous messages directed at their kids, hidden in seemingly innocent YouTube videos.

Momo is a scary-looking face with the sing-songy voice of a small child that says “Momo, Momo, Momo’s going to kill you,” among other things. It tells kids to harm themselves or others, otherwise Momo will kill them.

And Momo isn’t the only scary thing on YouTube kids. A Florida mother found seemingly innocent videos depicting school shootings, human trafficking, and even instructing kids how to kill themselves.

The spread of videos like these has left many parents feeling uneasy.

“It just hurts me to know that this is going around for the kids,” said parent Whitney Waddell.

Waddell says her daughter loves to watch videos on YouTube kids. When she heard about the Momo challenge, she asked her daughter if she had seen any of those videos.

“I told her, you know, Jaliyah, just get off of YouTube and just talk to me and let me know what’s going on in your mind,” said Waddell.

Twyna Bell is a behavioral health practitioner. She works with parents and children on a variety of issues, including being safe online.

“When parents come into the office, or within the home setting, we have electronics. The kids are in the waiting area with electronics in their hands,” said Bell.

Bell says being a parent is different than it was 20 or 30 years ago. She says encourage kids to spend less time online, and talk to them about what they’re seeing.

“I think the biggest thing is to monitor your children, monitor devices, have conversations with them, and remember that safety is first,” said Bell.

YouTube posted a statement to Facebook, saying “We want to clear something up regarding the ‘Momo Challenge’: We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the ‘Momo Challenge’ on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.

If you see videos promoting harmful or dangerous challenges on YouTube, we encourage you to flag them to us immediately. These challenges are clearly against our Community Guidelines.”

Click here to learn how to delete apps on your device.

Categories: Columbus, Local

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *