CHICAGO — Parents across the U.S. are worried about a reported phenomenon called the “Momo Challenge” popping up in YouTube videos — but experts say it’s a hoax.
Parents claim a frightening image of “Momo” randomly pops up on the screen while children are watching videos on YouTube. Momo encourages kids to take on various challenges, then send a photograph through a messaging app as proof.
Tech experts said the “challenge” is a viral hoax, and that “Momo” is just an urban legend meant to terrify parents. Additionally, YouTube said it has found no recent evidence of videos promoting the “Momo Challenge” on the platform.
Parents said the “Momo Challenge” tells kids they will be cursed if they don’t follow through with the challenge. The challenges start small, parents said, but could lead to self harm, and even suicide.
“How many people watching this have sat down and had the talk with their children about what they’re doing online, who they’re communicating with, what they’re sharing,” tech expert Alan Crowetz said.
We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge: We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.
— YouTube (@YouTube) February 27, 2019