Western Courier

MOMO is an issue and parents need to know

Jason Adams, Courier Staff

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Recently, a story was posted all over social media and on the news about the discovery of the Momo videos on You- Tube. For those who haven’t heard about this story, a woman reported that her daughter told her that a character named Momo cut in during a video she was watching on YouTube and told her to harm herself. She reported it to YouTube and authorities, and more parents came out saying their children saw the same thing in other videos. A lot of criticism has been brought up towards YouTube for not censoring their videos enough and allowing videos such as these to be uploaded. After more investigating and looking into these videos, multiple sources including The New York Times and Washington Post have stated that there are no credible reports, and that this is just a hoax and or an urban legend. This actually isn’t the first time that Momo has made an appearance. Last year, reports from all over the world were made about Momo messaging children on Facebook and Whatsapp. This isn’t a new story, just a new strand. It’s definitely a story that will worry unaware parents and will make them scared for their children.

The one issue I have with this is that all the blame was being placed on YouTube. Parents were coming down on YouTube for not censoring their videos and allowing something like this in videos meant for children. After investigating the incidents, YouTube didn’t find anything credible. YouTube is a huge video platform, where millions of videos are uploaded and then watched by a mass public. They can’t screen every single video uploaded. You know who can screen the videos that their children watch? Parents can. How is no one questioning parents on this? You shouldn’t give a young child an electronic device that displays YouTube, and just walk away; that’s not safe or beneficial for your child. That’s not parenting. Sticking a child in front of a screen won’t help them develop their brains. Studies have shown that interacting with people helps infants develop and grow better, screen time doesn’t allow that. Some parents think if they put on parental controls they’ll be fine. That’s not always the case. Parental controls are a great start but things do slip through, they can’t catch everything. Some kids can even figure out how to turn them off.

Parents who do use apps such as YouTube are more likely the ones worried by this story. Showing kids videos is not a bad thing, not knowing what videos they’re watching, though, is a completely different scenario. Growing up, I remember parents would watch movies or videos before they showed it to their kids to make sure it was okay. With the exception of movies in the theater there is no way Disney would be able to sneak something like this into “Toy Story,” for example. Parents, screen what your kids watch. Stop parenting with a smartphone or tablet; that’s not parenting, it’s just being lazy.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
MOMO is an issue and parents need to know