“Momo Challenge” A Hoax Claims Says Charities

“Momo Challenge” A Hoax Claims Says Charities

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of online chatter surrounding the so-called “Momo Challenge”, an alleged self-harm craze which some publications have encouraged children and young people to commit violent acts, self-harm or even commit suicide. 

This has sparked many organisations, such as Schools and Police services, to issue warnings and guidance to parents who are worried about the craze, sparking further hysteria as news organisations across the world ran with the story. Reports of Momo have even claimed that the character has appeared in online videos for Fortnite and Peppa Pig, though no evidence of such videos has been uncovered.

The NSPCC, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has claimed to The Guardian that there is no confirmed evidence that the phenomenon is posing a threat to British Children. Samaritans have also dismissed these claims, alleging that the ensuing media attention and hysteria currently poses more risk to the public. 

Furthermore, YouTube has claimed that there is no evidence of videos promoting the “Momo Challenge” are present on their platform, and the UK Safer Internet Centre has called many of these claims “fake news”.    

A spokesperson for Samaritans has stated that “These stories being highly publicised and starting a panic means vulnerable people get to know about it and that creates a risk.” The same spokesperson claimed that these hysterical media reports are “raising the risk of harm” and that they are “not aware of any verified evidence in this country or beyond linking Momo to suicide”.

The main problems posed by the “Momo Challenge” is that the widespread media reports and the promotion of related articles have instilled fear in both parents and children, all thanks to a sea of unverified claims from news outlets.

In effect, clickbait headlines and scaremongering has resulted in Schools and Police forces issuing warnings, which in turn have created more headlines and fear amongst children and parents. As of now, there is little evidence that the “Momo Challenge” actually exists in the UK.  


(Image from the BBC)  

The “Momo” image originated in 2016 thanks to a Japanise sculpture called Ubume, which was exhibited at a gallery in Japan. This sculpture is linked to an old Japanese folk tale, though the sculpture is nonetheless horrifying to look at, especially within the context of the “Momo Challenge”. 

Back in the summer of 2018 similar “Momo Challenge” news stories were spread online, but the recent reactions of campaigners, news outlets, Schools and police forces have caused a reemergence of the craze in the public consciousness. 

Parents of young children should be careful when granting them access to the internet, but today’s fears of the “Momo Challenge” and suicide crazes are mostly unfounded. The only risk the “Momo Challenge” poses is the fear caused by the media hysteria surrounding the alleged craze. 

Similar suicide crazes have been the subject of media reports in the past, with 2017’s “Blue Whale” craze being a prime example. Early reports claimed that it was linked to 130 deaths in Russia, with later reports suggesting that no deaths were caused by the alleged craze. The “Momo Challenge” appears to be another craze that the media has allowed to go out of control. 

Parents who are concerned about online safety for their Children should read the NSPCC’s Online Safety Guidelines (Link).  

You can join the discussion on the “Momo Challenge” and the evidence that it is a hoax on the OC3D Forums.