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Viral 'MoMo Challenge' terrifies Utah kids, identified as hoax

The creepy face featured in the MoMo Challenge, which is encouraging suicide. (Photo: Ginna Roe, KUTV)
The creepy face featured in the MoMo Challenge, which is encouraging suicide. (Photo: Ginna Roe, KUTV)
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A terrifying video circulating the web is encouraging children to kill themselves.

It’s called the ‘MoMo Challenge.’ A creepy, bugged-eyed woman offers children instructions on how to take their own lives. The horrifying video has been infiltrating popular children sites like YouTube Kids.

Tooele mom Sara Markham’s son Tanner came across the video and started having nightmares.

“My son, when we would put him to bed he would be scared and he would be like what about MoMo?” Markham said.

Markham and her husband brought their son to a therapist at Primary Children’s Hospital, in part to help cope with his ADHD, and that’s when the therapist noticed Tanner’s fear.

“Momo came up and then the therapist was asking more about it. And he actually got my phone and said, ‘okay, Google. Show me MoMo,’” Markham said.

Markham learned her son saw the disturbing character at a friend’s house and had been haunted by it ever since.

“Kids are very impressionable,” Douglas Goldsmith, a licensed child psychologist said.

He said if the video is popping up on sites like YouTube, there is already a large number of children already impacted by it.

“A huge number of children are being exposed to suggestions about how to kill yourself. There is nothing funny about that. There’s nothing cute about that and it’s extraordinarily harmful,” Goldsmith said.

He said it’s up to parents to closely monitor what their children are watching.

“We can’t just assume kids can be safe online. They’re not safe and parents need to do a better job supervising,” Goldsmith said.

Tanner is no longer allowed to watch or play games on his mom’s phone alone.

“I have to watch YouTube with her. I can’t just watch it by myself,” he said.

Markham said her son has talked about the video with a counselor and both parents.

“I think we’ve talked about it openly with him that we’ve gotten through it,” she said.

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