BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Hey parents, have you heard about the Momo Challenge?
Supposedly, it’s a type of video spreading on YouTube and other social-media platforms in which kids are given suicide instructions.
But actually, it’s a hoax.
There is no Momo Challenge.
So why do rumors about this non-existent video keep going viral online, to be picked up by gullible mainstream media?
Because they feed into the widespread fear parents have that the smartphone has created a scary world their kids inhabit that they know nothing about.
And that’s a fear based on reality.
The Atlantic Monthly magazine notes studies have found only 13 percent of teenagers think their parents know what they do online. But the magazine goes on to point out that fake stories like the Momo Challenge may give parents a false sense of security that, ok, now that they know about this scourge they can protect their kids from it.
“Unfortunately,” they write, “maintaining kids’ safety online is a much more complicated and delicate task…the platforms themselves often perpetuate harm…. They don’t protect kids against cyberbullying from peers, they milk kids under the age of 13 for money and engagement, and they promote truly gruesome content.”
Bottom line: you’re right to be worried.
But you’ve got to be clear about what you need to be most worried about.
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