My online buddy Lyle Blackburn recently commented on the irony of this, the fact that he has a new book out entitled MOMO: THE STRANGE CASE OF THE MISSOURI MONSTER (get yourself an autographed copy here!), at the same time as the “MOMO Challenge” is all up in the news again. I told him it might be a blessing in disguise, as the one might provide some free publicity for the other. How many worried mothers, hands almost denuded of skin from all the hand-wringing, will be googling “MOMO” and find not any mention of the online hoax but Lyle’s book instead?
“The MOMO Challenge” has resurfaced. Or, more likely, it has just now reached my neck of the woods. The local news has been reporting on it, and moms by the droves have been venting their panic online. Everybody’s kid, apparently, has seen MOMO, been traumatized by MOMO, will likely never recover from MOMO. What’s really happening, of course, is a moral panic, and the promulgation of an urban legend. The MOMO Challenge is still a semi-hoax. While I don’t doubt that there are MOMO video snippets in existence—supposedly an innocent little tyke will be watching something benign online and MOMO will break into it and instruct the kid to do something bad, or to commit suicide, and threaten him/her that something terrible will befall his parents if he tells them and if she fails to follow through with MOMO’s orders—there have been no deaths or dismemberments anywhere linked to MOMO. Despite the fact that everybody knows somebody who supposedly lost a child to MOMO, the reality is that MOMO is responsible for nothing more than the frayed nerves of some parents and maybe a nightmare or two for their kiddies.