A 5-year-old boy in New Mexico was so scared about the Momo challenge, an online hoax that seems to have caused widespread panic despite little evidence that a sinister app is actually popping up on YouTube to entice children to engage with it, as some adults have claimed on social media.
According to KOAT, a family in Albuquerque took the rumors of the online challenge — reported to deliver a serious of tasks to its users that involve self-harm and even suicide — seriously enough that Giovanni Pedroza’s parents warned him to let them know if he ever saw the image of the creepy Momo avatar show up while he was watching YouTube cartoons.
— KOAT.com (@koat7news) March 2, 2019
Although there is no indication in the report that the 5-year-old boy ever encountered the avatar on YouTube, learning about Momo was enough to scare him into calling the police.
“I don’t want the Momo to come here,” Giovanni reportedly said to the dispatcher, Natalie Gurule.
“I just close my eyes and my eyes were thinking that the Momo challenge was right there.”
Gurule patiently reassured the Giovanni there was nothing to fear, according to a transcript of the non-emergency call obtained by KOAT.
“It’s not real. It’s fake, and they’re just trying to scare kids like you. They’re just trying to scare kids and parents, but it’s not real. It’s not real, and if anybody asks you to do anything like that, you always tell your mom and dad,” Gurule reportedly told the little boy.
After the call, the Albuquerque police department invited the boy and his family to visit the precinct. Officers reportedly gave Giovanni a flashlight and a teddy bear to help keep him safe, according to the report.
Giovanni said that he hopes to be a police officer someday.