Momo Challenge: New cyberbullying threat

Published: Dec. 20, 2018 at 10:38 PM EST
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There's a new form of cyberbullying spreading across social media and cell phones, targeting young kids and teens.

It's called the Momo Challenge, a game that threatens kids with violence if they don't commit potentially dangerous tasks.

"Momo says will have a knife while you're sleeping at night," one little boy said.

This New Jersey boy is understandably upset when a classmate told him he'd better do what Momo says or he'd be killed.

It's an online cyberbullying thing through Facebook and Whatsapp. Targeted at kids and teenagers, the messages tell you to do things, some simple some more violent.

They say you need to show photographic proof that you did it, or kids are told Momo will kill them.

A couple of suicides in other countries have reportedly been linked to Momo, her avatar itself very frightening.

A school district in New Jersey sent a letter home to parents about this, the Cape May Police Department now has a warning on its Facebook page.

"Preemptively addressing something with your kid is always better," said Dr. Meghan Walls, a pediatric psychologist.

She says it might be a good idea to gently ask your younger kids if they know about this.

"Something like, Ya know, there's some scary things that pop up on phones and tablets and if you ever see something like that, come get me.'"

And for your older kids? Maybe get them to promise they'll talk to you about the Momo Challenge if it's sent to them. It's not realistic to simply take their phone away, but let them know this is cyberbullying, it's potentially dangerous, and that you're trusting them to let you know what's going on.

"Especially as kids get older and they are teenagers, they want some of that autonomy, and they deserve it as long as they can show you they're responsible enough," Walls said.