Even though the Internet is a helpful resource when it comes to research and news, it can also double as a very scary place. Viral trends like the cinnamon and chubby bunny challenges seem fun and create entertaining YouTube videos. But sometimes, challenges and viral videos can be quite malicious. In one such instance, a series of concerning images of a character named Momo began appearing online and embedded in videos. The image is in fact that of a sculpture created by a Japanese artist named Keisuke Aisawa and is popularly used to depict the “Momo” character. This bird-woman is terrifying: with her porcelain skin and massive eyes that stare down the viewer, she’s nightmare material. News pieces and memes have sprouted from the image, so for some it is a laughing matter but others take it seriously.
What’s the big deal about Momo? Her origin. The image of Momo sprouted from an Internet hoax that has been going around and gaining popularity recently. Legend has it that Momo pops up in the middle of videos for children on YouTube, and starts telling children who are viewing to listen to whatever she says as she advises them to self-harm and harm others. This has gained concern from many parents online as they want to make sure their children aren’t exposed to danger. But, it turns out that the whole situation was faked. The rumor unfolded when someone found the picture of Momo online and decided to put a twist on it and stir up the pot. The Internet has therefore had its fun with it.
The creepy figurine has since been made into memes all over Instagram and Twitter and other platforms. Everyone’s seen her. Junior Sam Bass stated, “I saw [Momo] on Youtube, and I have to say I was caught off guard. And the fact that whoever is doing this is trying to show it to kids is sickening.” Sophomore Rebecca Candeloro also shared her experience. “Someone showed [Momo] to me and then I saw her in an Instagram video. My first thought was how creepy she was; I don’t like her smile or eyes.” Momo overall makes GL students uncomfortable as she stares at them through their screens.
This is not an isolated incident. Other internet challenges over the years, like eating Tide pods and taking ice baths, have been just as serious. An incident called The Blue Whale Challenge that occurred back in 2016 is similar to the Momo incident as it is extremely scary and promotes self harm, but differs as it is actually true. Even though these are no longer relevant, one’s suspicion can only bubble when thinking about where these ‘challenges’ spark from.
Why do these challenges spread so quickly? The Internet is like one big game of telephone, sharing and modifying stories to tons of people. Once one person hears about a terrifying challenge that is targeting children, the Internet falls into the wormhole and gives them the power and publicity that they do not deserve. When one person gets scared, they want to provide awareness and mention it to their friends so that they aren’t in danger. One should always be cautious when online and stay aware of red flags. Even though the Internet is full of its fun and games, it can also double as a dangerous place where no one is safe.