THE CHILDREN DIGITAL SAFETY
Have you ever heard for Momo? Many didn’t but there are still some that have experienced painful moments with this online urban legend. Who is Momo and what she/it has to do with us and our daily lives? The story of scary doll named Momo is related to the Japanese culture and urban myth of ghost ubume. We all know how authentic and original, but at the same time, odd is a collection of Japanese urban legends and tales. According to the narration, ubume was a woman who died during childbirth but never found a rest. This creature haunt on children and it is present even in Chinese folklore. Her inventor and special effect artist, Keisuke Aiso regretted about the negative impact of the silicon monster, that appeared to be connected with lot of harming and even suicide attempts, tried by children themselves. He destroyed the doll and informed that he is looking forward to Hollywood horror movie Gateway, based on this scenario.
What Momo has done to children or tried to do ? Some crime experts report that the beginning of Momo madness could be found in Mexico, where players challenged each others via WhatsApp, with an unknown person known as Momo. The original creator of this The mother Bird sculpture is japanese Link Factory, that has nothing to do with online challenge and death mood that the doll is linked with. Nevertheless, the parents are concerned that this kind of content is somehow available for kids, during their presence in cyber dimension. Some rumours even talk about numerous youth suicides in South America, Europe, India and the US but police is investigating the case carefully. The crime professionals in the U.K. even warn that Momo challenge has found a way into the child documentaries and entertainment shows, like Peppa Pig or computer game Fortnite.
The legends and background ideas are different. Some people believe that real media concern has been born when two teenagers, in northeastern Columbia, committed suicide, after getting Momo messages. The boy who was 16, passed the game on the 12-year-old girl and then killed himself. The girl has been found hanged, just 2 days later. The mom in U.K., Bolton, reported that his son and his school friends are all afraid of Momo and her super power. The majority of kids or teenagers are involved in the case via Whastapp Momo challenge, and this encourages graphic photos, violent messages and kind of brainwashing, which lead children to the suicide and self-harming. We also should not forget that dark knights of digital universe don’t stop working on their project of doxing or stealing and hacking private information and threaten to put them online. For some children and young people is this worse than death itself and they fall into blackmailing and loneliness, trying to fight problem alone, without informing family or authorities. The main reason is a pure fear when Momo, Ii or simply psychopath behind the screen is warning them that, if they say anything, someone will pay with life, child or child’s family itself. The children close their circle and try to deal alone, being scared that any wrong step will cause the unpleasant reaction for the evil side. Naturally, this leads young souls into depression, despair and suicide thoughts. If parents don’t recognise this on time, then fatal end is an outcome, not because of Japanese scary face but because of the pathological machinery that is hidden behind the online traps for the youngest population.
The problem with digital time for children could be prevented if all family members would have invested more interest in the placed content. Unfortunately, we all live in the fast zone and parents allow the using of Internet to get some spare time for themselves. The majority of parents are simply naive and believe that Dark Web is something that happens only in some special cases and that police is monitoring all. It is a true that dark content is usually limited and controlled by many official authorities but there is still a way that such kind of content runs away and escape the regular legal borders, entering the area of high digital safety for our children. The computer specialists with black hearts do not give up to find a road to the pure lives of our treasures, kids. They know how vulnerable they are and how sensitive they react on the given content. If your child is blackmailed and manipulated through some app, enough to make him/her interested in self-harming, then you missed something as a parent, the lesson of presence in your child’s life. At the moment when you decided you will be a mom or dad, it means a big level of responsibility and protection sense. This is not the world we had when we were kids. This is much more lucrative world, with lots of puzzles, holes and labyrinths, with human monsters.
The cyber crime is our new reality. The child rapists, ogres and sadists are not the fiction that could be detected on the street, behind the schools or in the park. They are smarter now, they know how to do camouflage and how to survive the new challenges of the advanced technological globe. You, as a parent, need to be informed and educated about all dangers that could eventually jump on your kid. It is not about being paranoid but about being updated. It is not about being negative but about being realistic. Whoever closes the eyes and keep behaving like Alice in Wonderland is at risk to have a child as a potential target for any of those, above mentioned, sociopaths of our time.
The Momo challenge is not the first and not the last one that will occur in the online field. But, if you are informed, you can also the pass information further, on your other family members and also, you can inform, what is the most crucial thing, your own child, about the world of dangers that are screaming from every corners. The communication is the key. Make sure you give the preliminary information and warning, before the content or problem is there. It is not wrong but right to keep child aware of the environment and to build a mutual trust. If anything happens, then your child will know that can trust you more than to be afraid from the unknown. That is the only way, the only way to the life with safety and freedom at the same time, the new and adapted behaviour for the cyber challenges we are stuck in, more and more.
One thought on “THE MOMO CHALLENGE: XOAH OR ONLINE DANGER FOR OUR CHILDREN?”
Sarah’s poignant and invaluable article reminded me of the absence of insight and logic when the progenitor of the Internet emerged in the 1960s (i.e. The Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US-Department of Defense)…
Whenever technology is commercialised and unleashed on societies, it lacks long-term research of possible negative implications. There were court cases in the 1980s about Internet Copyright issues, but not about content associated with detrimental influences on children.
Within primary school curricula, there should be definitive and mandatory classes about Internet issues; especially, Cyberspace psychology. Certainly, some school systems have incorporated some measure of education on these matters, but the more something is denied or deemed illegal, the more people associate it with mystery and some are drawn to it…
In 2010, Phoebe Prince, an English-Irish high school student residing in South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA, died by suicide at the age of 15. Her suicide by hanging led to the criminal prosecution of 6 adolescents for charges including civil rights violations. The case led to the enactment of stricter anti-bullying legislation by the Massachusetts State Assembly.
The social media platform hierarchies have promised to work with policing bodies to counter social media suicides, but it requires an holistic effort (i.e. friends, parents, teachers, schools, communities, companies, psychologists, etc.).