SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 Orlando) - Is the creepy-faced Momo Challenge real or a hoax? Either way, it’s freaking people out. Now schools are warning parents about the dangerous videos.
Reports are popping up saying children are seeing the viral challenge in apps like WhatsApp, YouTube and even video games, daring kids to do dangerous things including self-harm and suicide.
The Momo Challenge has been widely branded a hoax since it first emerged last year. Real or not, it’s concerning local schools enough to send out warnings to parents. Schools in Volusia and Seminole counties sent emails to parents this week.
“Watch what they have on their media, monitor,” explained Tabitha Bernal, a mental health counselor in the Seminole County District.
On Thursday, during a forum for parents, she said there were several incidents where just seeing this face alone horrified elementary-age students.
“They were all just scared, in tears. Some were wanting their parents to come. So it was a very bad situation,” said Bernal.
YouTube and Facebook both released statements, explaining that dangerous challenges that promote self-injury or suicide are taken down once they’re reported or flagged.
Parents are using this opportunity to talk to their kids once again about all of the dangers online.
“It’s scary. It's almost like what do you do? You know, you have to trust to send them to school, you have to trust that they're going to, you got to let them grow,” said one parent Erin Schwandt.
“Anything to keep them safe from getting exposed to things,” said Bernal.