PARENTS received a sobering reminder to keep an eye on what their kids are watching this week as warnings about Momo began to go viral on social media.
Momo – a creepy bird-like lady, with stringy hair, large eyes and a stretched smile is the face of a WhatsApp “suicide challenge”.
But it’s her appearance in videos on YouTube and YouTube kids that has parents worried.
Screenshots have been taken of the figure popping up in videos of Frozen, Peppa Pig and toy reviews.
Some women on the Perth Mums Facebook group said they had deleted the YouTube and YouTube kids app.
Others have described terrified children bursting into tears when they were asked if they had seen Momo.
But, what is Momo?
Momo was created by a Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa from Link Factory, a company that makes horror film props and special effects.
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The figure was inspired by the Japanese ubume or bird lady.
She soon gained internet fame on the Reddit sub r/creepy and eventually became the face of the Momo challenge.
Why is Momo on YouTube?
Trolls are taking innocent videos and inserting the image of Momo into the film.
These videos feature either a static silent photo of the creature or the image pops up along with disturbing messages.
The trolls seem to be getting off on terrifying small children.
However, kids would need access to a phone to be able to take part in the Momo challenge.
What is the Momo challenge?
The Momo challenge seems to have originated with Blue Whale.
The Blue Whale game lasted for 50 days via a messaging tool like WhatsApp. There is an administrator and a victim.
The administrator will give the victim tasks, like sitting up all night watching horror movies or asking them to self mutilate. The game ends with the person’s death from suicide.
The Momo challenge follows similar rules.
However, these game cannot be found via internet searches and no Australian deaths have been linked to Blue Whale or Momo.
The only danger this challenge poses to small children watching YouTube is the risk of being exposed to mature content.
Police warn parents about Momo
“As creepy as she looks, Momo isn’t going to crawl out of your child’s phone and kill them,” Police in Ireland wrote in a Facebook post.
They warned that the real danger of the Momo challenge comes from hackers looking for personal information.
“The set up can come from countless other apps- anything with a chat function,” the post continued.
“The danger lies with your child feeling pressured to either follow the orders of any app via ‘challenges’.
“This is merely a current, attention grabbing example of the minefield that is online communication for kids.”
If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline (5 to 25 years) on 1800 55 1800.