The Momo challenge and hype continue to create panic and hysteria over the Internet for more than a year now. Here is a short guide on what Momo is all about, and how to deal with the Momo challenge and hype!
What Is Momo?
Momo is actually a photo of a sculpture of the Ubume ghost by a Japanese artist Keisuke Aizawa that some pranksters use to create the Momo hype.
Using WhatsApp, these pranksters use the Momo picture to scare people, and spread hysteria, by sending victims horror pictures, claims of knowing everything about their contacts, and so on.
The Momo Challenge
The same Momo accounts are also said to also challenge people to harm themselves or others. They are said to be presented as a series of challenges or initially benign tasks, that culminates in demands of violent acts or suicide.
Although no actual cases have been confirmed, the Momo challenge created a hysteria, thanks to the media and Internet trolls.
The media failed to verify facts before presenting the Momo challenge as a genuine threat, while Internet trolls take opportunity of the public’s fear and ignorance to spread more false stories about the Momo challenge or hype.
Momo Is NOT A Virus, But It Is Dangerous
Although it has been claimed that Momo can add itself to contact lists using a virus, this is not true. There is no virus that spreads Momo, or a Momo virus.
Momo is not a cybersecurity threat – it cannot steal or damage your data. Yet it is still a threat to both parents and children.
Children don’t know better that Momo is not real, and may be enticed by pranksters using the Momo avatar to trick them into doing something wrong or unsavoury.
Parents, on the other hand, can be overwhelmed by the media onslaught about Momo, and over-react because they don’t know what to do.
How To Deal With The Momo Challenge
David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, shared with us some ways to deal with the Momo challenge.
- Have regular conversations with your child(ren) – make them aware of how to be safe online. Agree which sites are appropriate for them and ensure they understand the reasoning behind this. They also need to know that they can – and should – confide in a trusted adult if they experience something upsetting whilst online.
- Make sure your child understands they should not ‘friend’ anyone online they don’t know in real life, or add unknown numbers to their contacts – people online are not always honest about who they are and what they want
- Activate safety settings – settings such as auto-play should be disabled and parental controls can be installed to help prevent children from viewing inappropriate content.
- Make use of the mute, block and report features – This will protect them from a lot of harmful content.
- Never share personal information such as phone numbers, address, etc with people you don’t know.
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