Yet another child has become victim to a social media related game, and this time the deadly game goes by the name of Momo challenge. This latest unfortunate incident occurred in Argentina and reports from Beunos Aires state that the victim is a 12 year old girl who reportedly took her own life. Momo is a privatized account functioning on a myriad of popular online sites such as Instagram and Facebook as well as social platform apps such as Whatsapp. A game that encourages a person to commit suicide ; it is very similar to the Blue Whale.
The account is connected to a few in Japan, Columbia and Mexico and features an artwork called Mother Bird that forces the user to comply with the game’s orders. If the user refuses, they are threatened with violent images and strange prophecies. Although cybercrime experts consider it a hoax used for stealing information, this is a frightening proposition for social media platforms. Regardless, the mother bird image is getting the attention of many people, which could lead to similar repercussions worldwide.
Momo challenge- What happens exactly?
It all starts with a creepy face of a woman staring back at you in a message on either Facebook or Whatsapp. Once the user adds the face it invites them to write a message- anything. If the user refuses than the message from the other end threatens to appear at night or even curse the user, leaving them dumbfounded.
The “rules” of the Momo challenge demand that the user commit to certain objectives as instructed. Many, especially the younger lot are coerced and even forced to follow through with the objectives. This is a trend similar to other death games on social platforms. The game goes so far as to convince the users to commit self-harm or else they are warned their private information will be shared online for everyone to see. There have been instances of the app telling the users their loved ones would be harmed.
Not the first of its kind
What is scary is that the Momo challenge isn’t the first of its kind, nor is it going to be the last. The trend of death games on social platforms is nothing new-. From the fire challenge that demands the person set his torso alight and record it; to the cutting challenge that specifically targets low esteemed individuals to literally cut their veins and post pictures of their slashed wrists online. There have always been games that play with a young person’s still developing esteem.
Then of course there was the infamous blue whale challenge which demanded the participants to complete 50 random “tasks” over a span of 50 days which was the cause of many deaths across the world(a staggering 130 plus according to some figures). There are some creepy similarities between the recent Momo and the infamous Blue Whale challenge, if you think about it.
The blue whale vs Momo challenge would be an odd morbid comparison but the more one looks at them the more sense it makes. The Blue Whale challenge was a worldwide phenomenon wherein young people were sucked in the pattern of the game, which challenges them to do one daring act after another. It starts harmlessly but starts upping the fear and danger meter with dares that include walking all night alone or eating expired foods. The last step of the blue whale challenge is jumping off a building and it is here that the constant competition, ranking board and leveling up aspect of a game take its toll. The Momo challenge is similar and although quite recent, the eerie similarities between blue whale vs Momo challenge should alert any parent or even government agencies. The death toll of more than a hundred innocent lives cannot be repeated again.
History and meaning behind the Momo image
The Momo challenge is getting a ton of attention because of its genuinely creepy character whose picture immediately gets your attention. The woman in the picture has large vacant eyes with a full face and the legs of a bird. Apparently, the picture is based on a real sculpture sitting in an art gallery in Tokyo where it was first showcased in 2016.The image shared by users matches that of the Tokyo sculpture that proves that the origin is from Japan.
Another inspiration could be the famous Japanese manga The ballad of Shinigami which even has the titular character called Momo , although exact evidence is non- conclusive at best. What is certain is that the trend of death games on social platforms now comes with images that can make you uneasy and squirm, forcing one to read the inscriptions that come with it.
The psychological aspect of these games
The reason behind so many online problems is psychological and these death games on social platform and social media fully exploit this. The addiction of the internet in general is already well known and social media is a primary addiction, which gives these game creators a platform- or playground if you may, to unleash their creations fully aware that many will be caught unknowingly around the world. The competition factor as well as shame and guilt for not going through something once started also plays into hand.
Teenagers and the like are especially susceptible to these challenges because of their esteem and hormonal developments that make them take the dare. Social recognition and reward incentives are known to boost brain activity especially in kids and this makes them easily partake in these dangerous games. The Momo challenge is a dangerous psychological game just like the blue whale challenge and immediate attention must be given to them.
These are dangerous times to be in- the internet has completely changed our lives and social media platforms in particular are responsible for a host of issues in people from all walks of life everywhere. These dangerous games cannot be stopped as the internet is a free playground. What can be done is that people, especially the younger lot can be made aware of these them. The likes of the Momo challenge are not the first of its kind, nor the last. Young children will always be attracted to such challenges and with the advent of faster broadband everywhere the number of users will only grow with time. The only way to curb it is by educating the masses about the dangers of the interweb.