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Momo, dangerous suicide game or scaremongering clickbait?

Far from being the dangerous suicide game that we have been lead to believe by over zealous and poorly informed tabloid reporting. Momo it seems, is not as dangerous as her obviously creepy appearance suggests.

"Momo" was part of a horror exhibit created by Japanese special effects company, Link Factory. The sculpture is called "Mother bird" and was originaly created by japanese sculptor Midori Hayashi, who is known for making bizarre dolls using different animal parts.

The story circulating on social media is that children are being encouraged to commit violent acts against themselves and others after being contacted through WhatsApp and other social media channels such as YouTube.

However both the Samaritans and the NSPCC have dismissed the claims, saying that "while there is no evidence that the Momo challenge has initially caused any harm itself, the ensuing media hysteria could now be putting vulnerable people at risk by encouraging them to think of self-harm."

Youtube has also responded sceptically, stating that they have not found any evidence of Momo promoting content on their site.

This is not the first supposed "suicide game" to do the rounds on Facebook. In 2017 a similar viral craze called "blue whale" was supposedly linked to 130 teenage deaths in Russia. This turned out to also be false reporting, originating from the Novaya Gazeta newspaper who later printed a retraction saying that "not a single death could be conclusivly linked to the game".

So while the whole idea of the MOMO challenge seems to be dangerous, the most malicious part of the tale seems to be how keen we are to jump onboard with a shock and horror story. A piece of simple clickbait, perfectly exicuted to play on our deepest fears of unsupervised social interaction and the potential that it can put our children at risk.

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