The “Momo Challenge”, a new disturbing phenomenon
The “Momo Challenge” is a viral “game”, which is starting to generate buzz. This game’s concept is frightening: an anonymous Internet user, hidden under the identity of “Momo” and the features of a sculpture by the artist Midori Hayash, defies his victim via instant messages. The targets are mainly children and young adolescents. Challenges are dangerous, morbid acts, that in some cases lead to suicides.
To apply pressure on his victims, “Momo” establishes a climate of psychological pressure, of emotional hold, ensuring that he knows everything about them and threatening to spread this on social networks. To convince his victim, “Momo” uses their personal information retrieved on the internet: photos, geo-tracking … From here paranoia can easily arise, and the ascendancy held by “Momo” is ready to grow.
The phenomenon was born in South America, on WhatsApp, where it was linked to two suicides of very young adolescents. Now the “Momo Challenge” seems to have spread all over the world and causes deep concern – and rightly so.
It is vital to “raise awareness and inform” of the dangers linked to this new phenomenon based on the use of social networks. It is important to talk about it to protect the most fragile individuals from these types of threats. It is also crucial to teach victims how to free themselves from this emotional hold, which is called “virtual” and yet can become very real in the daily lives of the victims.