A mother in Scotland is speaking out after she says her 8-year-old was nearly roped into a dangerous internet game which could’ve ended with his suicide.
Lyn Dixon told The Herald that her young son first encountered the “Momo Challenge” on YouTube—despite strict parental controls put in place—while he watched lighthearted prank videos. The mother said Momo, a macabre yet cartoonish image of a woman, scared the boy to the point that he was afraid of the dark and refused to sleep alone.
The boy’s parents assured him she wasn’t real and reportedly informed the school of the challenge, prompting them to give an internet safety talk to students. However, the mother said she was horrified months later when her son informed her that he encountered Momo again.
“He showed me an image of the face on my phone and said that she had told him to go into the kitchen drawer and take out a knife and put it into his neck,” Dixon told the news outlet, adding that there was also parental controls on her son’s phone.
Dixon claimed she recently shared a post in a local Facebook group about the disturbing challenge and was shocked when several users said their children have also been exposed to it. One commenter reportedly claimed her niece was instructed to sacrifice herself for her brother.
Though the image—created by Japanese special effects lab the Link Factory—has nothing to do with suicide, it has been blamed for a rash of child deaths in recent years. The Scottish Sun reported that the image was recently linked to the death of a 12-year-old Argentinian girl, 13-year-old Belgian boy, and a French boy.
The Momo Challenge has become such a cause for concern that government officials released warnings about the online trend, according to the Daily Mail.
“It’s a big fear, that we can’t always control what he’s exposed to on the internet. You read these stories about children committing suicide and we all know how difficult life is now with the pressures on children,” the Scottish mother told The Herald.
“Social media is a massive part of that. It’s horrific and we’ve got no control over it.”
[Featured Image: Handout]