Beware, the so-called ‘Momo Challenge’ is deadlier than you think.
Described by concerned netizens as a ‘suicide app,’ Momo Challenge is the subject of an advisory by lawmen and IT experts, an online application targeting young Internet users, and ‘encouraging’ them to commit suicide.
The Philippine National Police on Thursday advised parents and guardians to monitor their children’s activities online following the spread of the alleged suicide game called the “Momo Challenge.”
In a statement, the Department of Information and Communication Technology has urged parents to monitor the online activities of their children following the reported ‘online epidemic’ caused by an application of unknown origin that invites young users to do horrific tasks with suicide as the ultimate challenge.
The application called ‘Momo Challenge’ allegedly led 11-year-old Chlyv Jasper “CJ” Santos to commit suicide.
Santos was buried on Tuesday after being sent to a hospital’s intensive care unit due to drug overdose.
According to reports, CJ’s mother Paula Bautista heard his son, “I will follow my master and I will kill them.”
Paula later learned that CJ had a classmate who hurt himself in school. She then found messages in his son’s mobile phone.
The DICT, meanwhile, cited a concerned citizen named Joy Alburo who noted on Facebook that the application may pop up in the middle of random videos on Youtube and attract users to engage.
The app also warns the young users to keep the activities to themselves or face certain consequences.
Government IT experts said that taking down the application “is not a guarantee of these materials disappearing from the web as new apps/videos surface regularly.”
The DICT said that though it can provide awareness programs against such dangerous online applications like the Digital Parenting Conferences they have been conducting since July 2017, “the power to monitor, educate and empower the youth lies in the hands of parents and the rest of the family.”
“The DICT will continue to enable parents in raising up digitally responsible citizens,” DICT Assistant Secretary Allan Cabanlong said in the statement.
Meanwhile, popular video sharing company YouTube tweeted its position regarding the viral mobile game.
“We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge. We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies,” the company said on Twitter.
The company also encourages netizens to notify them in any event that a harmful or dangerous challenge appear on their videos.
But how does Momo Challenge works?
A video produced and published in September 2018 by Mumbai-based entertainment content platform, Arré, shows how the ‘Momo Challenge’ works.
The video explains how the game keeps the young users hooked to the challenges despite the violence.
It says the first step is an invite from a half-bird-half-woman avatar with bulging eyes named Momo. Momo encourages the user to text a certain number on WhatsApp. Once the contact is established, Momo will respond with a string of personal details about the user, including his address, his parents’ names and in some occasion, Momo even describes what the user is wearing at the time.
Users then are asked to do a series of horrific tasks beginning with alienating friends and families, then inflicting self- harm. ‘Momo’ will ask the user for photographic proof that the task has been completed. Failure to accomplish the task will yield threats from ‘Momo’.
Momo is a doll figure with bulging eyes and a gaping mouth.
In other developments, regulators claimed that they do not have jurisdiction over a messaging app used in the deadly “Momo Challenge” that has been blamed for CJ Santos; death, the DICT said.