Momo Hoax or Not, The Internet Still Has a Problem, & The Cyber Effect

If you’ve been on any sort of social media over the last two weeks, you know that the Momo challenge was making its rounds again on the internet. News feed filled up with the disgusting details of this challenge, that I won’t go into here. Then we started to see how this challenge was probably a hoax, a modern day urban legend.

Real or not, the internet still has a problem. I saw with my very own two eyes multiple videos with this so-called bird-human creepy character urging the viewer to harm him or herself. I’ve also seen a video that has “Filthy Frank” spliced into the video reminding kids that “sideways for attention, longways for results.” That video has since been removed.  (Also, don’t google that term. Some pretty disgusting images come up in search results.)

Now, if we look at this with a critical eye, this brings up a few thoughts for me.

  1. Where are these videos and why are they on the internet at all? It’s tough to share with you these videos, mostly because once they are reported YouTube and YouTube kids has been great about taking these videos down. I found a pediatrician online how blogs quite a bit about keeping kids safe online. She recorded a few of these videos to share. Even after viewing her website a few times, he videos OF the videos are getting pulled off the internet. (Which is good, but you can see why it’s tough to show you that this is actually happening).  She has a few more videos here to give you some examples. Of course any sort of content needs to be taken in context. Some of the videos do appear to be made by children themselves. My point is, this stuff is out there and you need to know this.
  2. It’s also difficult to tell if some of the videos are copycats of the urban legend that is Momo. Here’s one example of a video, but there’s really not enough information to to figure out if this is a copycat or not. Doesn’t matter. It’s out there and you need to know this too.

YouTube is demonetizing any videos about the Momo challenge in an effort to stop this from being spread. I think this is a good move on their part to just stop the spread of such horrible information.

So, anyways. I am sharing this information because there really is a lot of crap on the internet. It is a good reminder of how well social engineering works. Hoax or not, there is still this dark side to the internet that many of us don’t know about.

If you’re interested in learning more about what really goes on in the dark corners of the web, I highly recommend the book “The Cyber Effect” by Mary Aiken (this is an affiliate link where I earn a small commission.)

Dr. Aiken studies a new branch of psychology that intersects with technology called cyberpsychology. In her book, she explains how “technology is shaping our children, our behavior, and our values and what we can do about it.” It’s really eye opening as to exactly HOW some of this terrible, disgusting things actually happen right in front of our eyes on social media. It’s a great read and worth it to read a couple of times. I even have it as an audio book and a printed copy, it’s that good!

from About the 'T' in STEM
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