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Momo, the sculpture-turned-WhatsApp-meme, has had parents, politicians, and even Kim Kardashian speaking out against a viral challenge reportedly hidden in YouTube Kids videos. If four years worth of urban myths are anything to go by, the terrifying character instructs viewers to perform increasingly dangerous acts until she finally demands they kill themselves.
According to Pearl Woods, her 12-year-old daughter with autism, Zoey, began exhibiting unusual behavior and mentioning Momo a few weeks ago. “Where is ‘suicide’ coming from? Why would she ask me about a knife into an outlet?” Woods said, per CBS.
Though Woods said she monitors what her daughter watches, reports say Momo is often snuck into the middle of videos, past when parents might have stopped screening it. Woods said last weekend, the situation nearly became explosive when Zoey turned on the gas kitchen stove without lighting it, flooding the place with gas.
“Just another minute, she could’ve blown up my apartment, she could’ve hurt herself, other people, beyond scary,” Woods said.
After that incident, Woods said she started finding Momo clips spliced into the videos Zoey watched. “It was Momo making bad videos,” Zoey reportedly said. “It was bad.”
It’s unclear what videos Pearl Woods and her daughter saw that included images of Momo. YouTube told the Daily Dot earlier this week that it had found no evidence of the challenge and that such content would be removed for violating its policies. Real or not, authorities are warning parents to pay close attention to what their children watch online.
- The Momo suicide challenge on YouTube is terrifying parents
- Even politicians are getting freaked out by the Momo challenge
- People are trying to make Momo a positive meme
H/T CBS News
Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.