My fiancée woke me up the other day sending me texts and freaking out about some new dangerous fad. Apparently she wasn’t alone I’m freaking out. But after doing some digging it seems she was subject to “fake news”.
This seems to be all the rage today, misinformation. The media wildly speculating on things they know nothing about, blowing normal news stories way out of proportion. No I’m not talking about politics.
I’m talking about the “Momo Challenge”.
Don’t start freaking out. That’s part of the problem. The “challenge” or so it’s called is a hoax. It’s a total fabrication that has caught wind on Facebook and news outlets (much in the same way Anti-Vaxxing caught on). But it doesn’t exist.
Forbes wrote an article that best discusses what is happening. “You have likely seen a number of stories in your news and social feeds about the dangers of something called The Momo Challenge. This usually accompanies an image of a grotesque bird-head with warnings about children being encouraged to harm or kill themselves.” I get how that seems scary. But if people would look a bit past the scare and fake news they could see what is really going on.
What is going on? It’s an old fashioned email chain letter. That’s all it is. Remember those dumb emails that said “send this to 10 people or you will have bad luck for all of 2003!”? It’s exactly like that. Facebook has caught wind of this chain letter and made it much worse than it is. The Forbes article goes on to state “The image and the story of children harming themselves or their families is, of course, shocking. However, as ParentZone recently highlighted, the number of reported cases of children harming themselves because of the game is extremely low. Even those cases that are linked in the media, of teenagers killing themselves in Asia and South America, are not suggesting the game was the direct cause.”
“Andy Phippen professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, told me, “things like Momo become social media storms because folk are so keen to share. It’s a nasty looking image which looks scary, so, the gut feeling would be this would scare kids. But check the sources and the evidence trail soon runs dry. It’s viral content at the end of the day, propagating just adds fuel to the fire, and creates unfounded hysteria. Don’t believe everything you read online.””
Forbes isn’t the only one reporting the truth. So is YouTube in official comments, Parentzone.org, The Guardian and others.
What can we learn?
First parents do need to keep track of what their kids do on electronics. They aren’t babysitters. Be actual parents and slow down.
Second don’t believe everything you see on the Internet, especially Facebook.
Here are several sources to read