Dangerous internet challenge moves into Lucas County

Dangerous internet challenge moves into Lucas County

LUCAS COUNTY (WTOL) - Parents -- a warning about a new challenge.

It's called the "Momo Challenge" and it's aimed at teens and young people.

The sinister internet game is daring teens to commit suicide and it's making its way across the globe.

In Argentina, police believe "Momo" users intimidated and bullied a 12-year-old user into taking her own life.

The game may have originated on Facebook, but has crossed over to an online messaging app.

The "Momo Challenge" isn't just something we want to make you aware of, it actually has made its way here to our children.

One 7-year-old was watching YouTube when an advertisement popped up. His dad, a lieutenant with the Lucas County Sheriff's Office is now investigating.

"It's scary, ya know," Lt. Dave Carter said.

His son was watching Minecraft videos on YouTube one day when a Momo ad popped up in the suggested videos.

"He began talking about Momo and how weird she looked," Lieutenant Carter recalled. "So, he ended up looking it up and saw that it was that suicide challenge."

Dave Carter and his son's mother spoke with their 7-year-old about the challenge and why he should never try to contact Momo. They say now he is scared of her, but they want to warn other parents too.

"That came off of something simple, you know, that kids all like watch or doing this Minecraft stuff and watching the videos on how to play it and here it comes up in the search," said Carter.

The Momo Challenge takes place on a messaging app called "What's App." Someone contacts her and then she responds.

WTOL tried to contact Momo Thursday to learn more, but no one responded to our call or message. Momo has been accused of intimidating, bullying and even making threats.

"It's shocking," Lieutenant Carter said. "And knowing that there is potential that they have been successful in having kids hurt themselves, even you know in my position here at the sheriff's office we're looking into it."

Lieutenant Carter said Sheriff John Tharp is aware and concerned about the challenge. While we haven't seen any serious cases locally, it has appeared to move into our area.

Experts said it's important you do your research on this and check your child's phone or tablet and talk to them. They said you should explain the challenge to your kids, so they can avoid it.

They also suggest you monitor you child's apps.

Lieutenant Carter suggests you avoid messaging apps because you never know who is on the other end.

But experts say if your kids do use these messaging systems that you regularly check who they are talking to and what is being said.

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