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Is the Momo Challenge A Hoax on Social Media?

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March 14, 2024

What is the Momo Challenge?

  • Throughout the Momo challenge, students are sent violent and graphic images and texts. If students want to stop the challenge “Momo” threatens to leak their personal information
  • Then, the stranger asks students to share photos and videos of themselves completing certain tasks
  • At first the tasks are small. For example: face a fear, wake up at weird hours throughout the night
  • The tasks escalate until the final task which encourages students to kill themselves
  • Images associated with “Momo” are based off of Japanese doll artists Linkfactory but the artists are in no way involved with the Momo challenge
  • WhatsApp, YouTube, and Facebook are the primary networks for the challenge

Why should parents care about the Momo Challenge?

  • If your student is participating in this challenge they are in danger
  • Students who partake in the Momo Challenge are actively communicating with strangers who intend to encourage self-harm
  • The Momo Challenge is not specific to one country, it is global
  • Law enforcement officials are investigating the suicide of a 12 year old student in Argentina whose death they believe is associated with the Momo Challenge
  • The Momo Challenge can feel real for students and may push them to harm themselves
  • Students are exposed to violent and graphic images throughout the challenge
  • Some students have reported that it’s easy to come across “Momo” on Facebook and YouTube and that it’s easy to connect with the character on WhatsApp

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Is the Momo Challenge A Hoax on Social Media?

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Similar to the Blue Whale Challenge, the Momo Challenge is a dangerous viral social media trend with teens and tweens. The challenge encourages students to contact an unknown person called “Momo” via WhatsApp.

Is The Momo Challenge A Hoax? There are claims that the Momo Challenge is a hoax. However, the Tide Pod Challenge and Blue Whale Challenge were said to be hoaxes as well, until real students harmed themselves (or died by suicide) while participating. Students will sometimes believe these anonymous challenges and take part in the games. Please take a moment to learn about this type of challenge and dialog with your students about it. Also watch this video to learn how we make our app guides (and how you can do your own research).

Why is it important to highlight and provide truth to a trend people think could be a hoax?

  • Your kids may believe popular trends, even if they are intended by the creator to be a hoax
  • In our experience, social media challenges (like the Blue Whale Challenge) can start off as a hoax but then gain attention online (which gets many students taking the challenge seriously)
  • Learning about viral social media challenges before your children can help you keep them safe (and prevent them from trying the challenge with their friends)

Parent & educator training video

Learn about the Momo Challenge on our Smart Social Podcast

Parents & Educators: Take The Next Step And Join Josh's Next Free Webinar To Learn: How To Navigate The Negative Effects of Student Social Media (And Help Your Student Shine Online)

What is the Momo Challenge?

  • Throughout the Momo challenge, students are sent violent and graphic images and texts. If students want to stop the challenge “Momo” threatens to leak their personal information
  • Then, the stranger asks students to share photos and videos of themselves completing certain tasks
  • At first the tasks are small. For example: face a fear, wake up at weird hours throughout the night
  • The tasks escalate until the final task which encourages students to kill themselves
  • Images associated with “Momo” are based off of Japanese doll artists Linkfactory but the artists are in no way involved with the Momo challenge
  • WhatsApp, YouTube, and Facebook are the primary networks for the challenge

Why should parents care about the Momo Challenge?

  • If your student is participating in this challenge they are in danger
  • Students who partake in the Momo Challenge are actively communicating with strangers who intend to encourage self-harm
  • The Momo Challenge is not specific to one country, it is global
  • Law enforcement officials are investigating the suicide of a 12 year old student in Argentina whose death they believe is associated with the Momo Challenge
  • The Momo Challenge can feel real for students and may push them to harm themselves
  • Students are exposed to violent and graphic images throughout the challenge
  • Some students have reported that it’s easy to come across “Momo” on Facebook and YouTube and that it’s easy to connect with the character on WhatsApp

The Momo Challenge in the news

Police around the world are warning parents of a disturbing, violent internet challenge [the momo challenge] that could be encouraging children to take their own life. –ABC
Girl Takes Own Life in Possible Case of 'Momo Challenge,' a Dangerous New Social Media Game –Inside Edition

What can parents do about the Momo Challenge?

  • Consider talking about the Momo Challenge with your students and ask them if they have heard about it
  • Discuss the dangers of the challenge and remind them that “Momo” is not a fictional character but rather a real person with negative intentions
  • Teach your children to never communicate with strangers on social media and to never share personal information online
  • Remind your children that they can always talk to you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable on social media
  • Learn about viral social media challenges before your children so that you can help keep them safe
  • Encourage your children to only use social media as a tool to improve their digital footprint and have fun with friends (in a safe way)

Additional Resources

With so many resources available and so many people wanting to help, suicide can be prevented. Check on your friends and family members often and let them know you’re there for them. Let’s work towards getting rid of the stigma of talking about mental health. 

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or call 911 immediately. If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text HOME to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

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Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

What is the Momo Challenge?

  • Throughout the Momo challenge, students are sent violent and graphic images and texts. If students want to stop the challenge “Momo” threatens to leak their personal information
  • Then, the stranger asks students to share photos and videos of themselves completing certain tasks
  • At first the tasks are small. For example: face a fear, wake up at weird hours throughout the night
  • The tasks escalate until the final task which encourages students to kill themselves
  • Images associated with “Momo” are based off of Japanese doll artists Linkfactory but the artists are in no way involved with the Momo challenge
  • WhatsApp, YouTube, and Facebook are the primary networks for the challenge

Why should parents care about the Momo Challenge?

  • If your student is participating in this challenge they are in danger
  • Students who partake in the Momo Challenge are actively communicating with strangers who intend to encourage self-harm
  • The Momo Challenge is not specific to one country, it is global
  • Law enforcement officials are investigating the suicide of a 12 year old student in Argentina whose death they believe is associated with the Momo Challenge
  • The Momo Challenge can feel real for students and may push them to harm themselves
  • Students are exposed to violent and graphic images throughout the challenge
  • Some students have reported that it’s easy to come across “Momo” on Facebook and YouTube and that it’s easy to connect with the character on WhatsApp

Login or join the VIP membership today to view all resources about the Momo Challenge!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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