Two teenagers in Colombia, ages 16 and 12, committed suicide after participating in the “momo suicide game.” The two deaths happened within 48 hours of each other. The investigators assigned to the case stated that, “they practiced this game through WhatsApp.” The game originated on Facebook and then carried over to WhatsApp.
The game consists of challenges and dares. If the person decides to not complete the dare or challenge that is given to them, they must either project harm on themselves or commit suicide. When they refuse the challenge or dare, they “receive threatening messages from an avatar dubbed Momo, a bird-like woman with eyes protruding out of her head, who says the user will be cursed with an ‘evil spell.’” Fox News stated that in order for something to come in contact with this game, they would have to accept the Momo contact. You accept the contact by opening the message in your inbox. Once accepted, the game would start.
A few weeks after Momo appeared on WhatsApp, it made another appearance on the game Minecraft. An icon has been made with the distributing photo of the bird-like woman and then proceeds to follow the player around holding a mobile phone with the WhatsApp icon above it. Fox News believes that in order for Momo to spread onto Minecraft, a ‘modder’ (a person with knowledge of programming and video game world) released it to Minecraft. A few reports through Fox News reported that 1 or 2 parents have seen the advertisement when their child was watching a Youtube video. Minecraft informed Fox News that, “This content, which was independently developed by a third party, does not align with our values and is not part of the official Minecraft game. This is a misuse of the platform and we are taking action to restrict access to the mod.” This is a step in the right direction.
People have been saying on social media that the “Momo Suicide Game” is very similar to the “Blue Whale” game. Blue Whale was a social media phenomenon where teenagers were encouraged to undertake horrific daily tasks that included self-harming, watching horror films and waking up at unusual hours. The tasks, issued by manipulative and fake social media users, would wait until the 50th day to address the young adults to kill themselves. The “Blue Whale” game first surfaced to the media in 2017. The game is said to have originated in Russia and only impacted 2 teens while still floating around over states in America. There has not been any new information released about any teenagers affected in America from the “Momo Suicide Game.”
It is shocking that we have linked social media, self-harm and games all together. Social media is supposed to be a safe place. A place where one can gain inspiration and learn new things. Social media is supposed to be a place where people can connect from all over the world. Social media is not supposed to be a technology that causes teens to harm and kill themselves. It is saddening to even think social media has taken such a drastic turn. The only thing that could be advised is to take note on how you use social media. Monitor your thoughts the next time you scroll through Instagram or while reading a message on WhatsApp. Be safe and do things that will lift you up and not drag you down.