It is the Blue Whale all over again. Creepy icon, threats to family, list of weird actions, ending in suicide.
Being connected is a two-way street. It is not for nothing that the internet used to be called the information superhighway. Information or not, it is a superhighway and one that everyone would do well to navigate with caution, especially young people. The latest "game" to hit unsuspecting kids is the "Momo Challenge" that allegedly spreads via WhatsApp, YouTube and even a Minecraft plug-in.
What it is: You already know the details - an anonymous friend request from someone called Momo with a scary icon, and when you accept, apparently your phone is doxed and the hacker forces you to perform a series of weird tasks, threatening to harm your family or reveal your personal information if you don't comply. This ends in a suicide mission, as suspected in the case of the Argentinian 12-year old girl who hanged herself, leaving behind a phone nearby that had a video recording of what she was up to, as reported by Buenos Aires Times. Yesterday, it hit closer home when a girl from Ajmer slit her wrists before hanging herself - and friends and family suspect the momo challenge, even as her suicide note blames low grades.
Mass Hysteria and Self-fulfilling Prophecies:
With no actual proof linking any death with this game, the hysteria is building across the world - just as it did for Blue Whale - aided by a mass media that only seeks to sensationalize. This in turn, is causing a cascade effect. In Tamil Nadu, a scary momo message turned out to be a prank from a friend. Which begs the question, is this even real?
But the thing is, you don't need a “real” game for real damage. All it takes is a powerful prank and a message gone viral for countless vulnerable people online to get affected. And do you know how they get affected? By starting the game. Yes - you read that right. The biggest damage is not in playing the game but in starting it. Because it sends otherwise honest people down a rabbit hole of darkness, deceit, manipulation and an intoxicating power that sends them deeper down. In our analysis, these games are n