The current trend of social-media challenges is going insane with the addition of ‘Momo Challenge’. It has just been a year since the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ and now this new challenge is going viral, encouraging suicide among teens.
What is ‘Momo Challenge’ ?
Reportedly started through Facebook, this challenge is managed by an account whose number is now circulating on WhatsApp too. The account uses an image of a creepy doll with monstrous features; large eyes and wide mouth. According to reports, it is a sculpture named ‘Mother Bird’ by Linked Factory which was inspired by the works of¬†Midori Hayashi.¬†It is on display at the Tokyo Vanilla Gallery in Japan. However, the artist is not associated with this challenge.
The challenge begins as the participant receives a text from ‘Momo’ to communicate with an unknown number. The unknown¬†number calls and uncomfortable noises are heard, as though someone is crying in pain.¬†Just like the Blue Whale Challenge, this challenge too includes a series of small tasks followed by the last task, being suicide.¬†Momo reportedly sends¬†disturbing images and threatens users if they refuse to participate.
The mystery related¬†
Along with this challenge, a song called ‘Momo Song’ is also going viral. It is being alleged that this song was sung by a little girl whose parents were brutually murdered. She sang this song while calling the police.
Total deaths linked¬†
This challenge started with the death of a 12-year old Argentinian girl who recorded every part of this challenge on her phone. She walked to her backyard and hanged herself from a tree. In a video filmed prior to her suicide, she clearly mentioned that she is committing suicide because of the Momo Challenge.
This game is viral in Russia, Japan, Argentenia, Mexico and Colombia. Moreover, some incidents have been reported in Germany, France and USA.
Awareness is being spread against this game. Anyone who receives a text from ‘Momo’ should immediately report to the police. Challenges like this cannot be banned as they are played between close knit groups. A senior cyber police official said, ‚ÄúIt is believed these online games were communicated on a one-on-one communication through encrypted/ secretive communication links which makes it very difficult to identify, intercept and analyse the contents‚Äù.
Till now, no case has been reported in India but a social-media activity spreads in no-time. The major targets are teenagers as they develop competition easily and try to¬†outperform each other under the heat of a challenge but the important thing is to understand the negative effects and take suitable safety measures. Challenges are meant to be for fun and they should be performed within those limits.
The ‘other side’ of the story¬†
As per cyber reports, this challenge is a hoax aimed to steal personal information. This is a trick to retrieve personal data only to misuse it later (by blackmailing). According to¬†Manorama,¬†Kerala Police have nabbed impostors who are pretending to be ‘Momo’ and are¬†sending similar messages.¬†They’ve warned of action against anyone found doing it.