By now I’m sure you’ve seen her disturbing visage: Bulging eyes, stringy black hair, frighteningly cartoonish smile? They call her Momo, and she is the latest in a tradition of scare tactics whipped into a frenzy by parents and adults who are more afraid of the times changing than they are of being educated on them. The assertion is that this sinister character is lying in the shadows of kid-friendly internet videos, waiting to appear suddenly and instruct the little ones to engage in some type of self-harm. A quick Google search is all it takes to reveal this outlandish hoax for what it is.
The whole thing is simply the fear of suggestion, and if your concern is that your children are way too receptive to instructions let me be the first to congratulate you! I can barely get my kids to do anything I ask on the first try– or even the second or third try sometimes. You’ve clearly got a “first-time-listener” on your hands and things are going to be way easier for you than for those of us with hard-headed progeny. I might suggest purchasing a Momo doll that you can move around the house like an “Elf on the Shelf.” You can call it the “Momo on the Commode-o” or something like that.
This isn’t anything new. Like the parents of yore being afraid that their kids rock ‘n roll records contained satanic messages when played backward, the problem isn’t ever what you think it is. This isn’t The Ring, where some ghostly figure emerges from the screen to murder you after seven days. The problem is actually far more insidious than any freaky imagery or urban legend. Just like those parents who couldn’t wrap their heads around what was so appealing about all that rock music stuff, we don’t understand why our kids want to spend hours watching videos of other people opening toys or playing video games. Instead of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, we’re afraid of Fortnite, Kinder Surprise Eggs, and the watered-down dubstep that seems to always serve as the soundtrack to these asinine YouTube channels.
And that’s what really bugs me. Not the notion that some nefarious person is hiding nasty messages in these videos, but rather that there is an entire group of people who are making MILLIONS of dollars in advertising revenue by simply goofing off and opening toys online. I need to have some serious words with my guidance counselor because no one told me that I could be raking in that kind of cash by just doing the things I already enjoy doing and filming it for the internet! The other thing that worries me is what will happen in 20 or 30 years’ time when this generation of kids grow up and elect President n00bSl4yer69 into office. And if that seems too far-fetched, ask yourself how ridiculous our current situation might have seemed that long ago. There are far more real threats to your children than internet boogeymen.