Friday, January 25, 2019

Momo – a dangerous new form of cyberbullying


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My mom reads your column. I’m writing because I’m scared. My girlfriend and other junior high friends are playing a game, called Momo, on their phones.

She asked me to play this fun “truth or dare” type of game.

I asked what I had to do. They showed me the picture of a bug-eyed scary girl … Momo. Her eyes pop out of her face and she looks like a witch. I got upset. They called me a baby.

We’ve had speeches about not taking challenges, like eating laundry detergent pods or cinnamon, but she said this is different and not dumb like the other stuff.

They said people all over play it and no one has died or anything.

I don’t want to play this game and my mom will take my phone and call other moms.

Signed,
Truth or Dare

Dear Ms. Truth,

You’re very mature and brave to write us about this dangerous game. Why is it dangerous?

Although the WhatsApp is used for wonderful reasons, like connecting friends and family at no charge, the WhatsApp is encrypted. Any user can be anonymous. It’s hard for police, parents, or anyone to identify the Momo person or group. Momo is still unidentified.

There has been direct confirmation of a girl who committed suicide after following the threatening risks and suicide instructions. Everyone should be warned about a game that promotes suicide.

The people behind this game are morally wrong to include curses or visits from Momo. Momo eventually tells the “gamers” to commit suicide, or murders will happen to their family, friends, and pets.

A purpose of Momo is to generate moral panic through the creation of evil fear. Many researchers will tell you this harms the well-being of societies.

A story on “Inside Edition” compared Momo to “Slenderman,” a fictitious demon on social media, who supposedly convinced two 12-year-old girls to kill their friend.

Momo is not just an innocent game. It’s a new form of cyberbullying. Momo can collect personal information about you, spread rumors (true or not), and send hate-speech as if it’s coming from you.

The more risks that the player takes, the more “bullets” Momo can launch, causing you to lose friends, family, or your life.

People who have been seduced by this game have actually experienced severe anxiety, anger, and depression.

Congratulations for not being gullible and giving into this peer-pressure induced viral “joke.”

Now, take your hard-earned courage and show this to your mom. She will understand the severity of this non-game and not take your phone.

Signed, 
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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