An increase in the use of online gaming by the youth on a fast-pace has raised a serious concern about the safety of Internet and social media use for the teenagers. Almost a year after the Blue Whale Challenge that attacked the minds of the today’s generation to go gaga over it, now a new game named Momo Challenge has sparked fear all around, after the death of a 12-year-old Argentinean girl.
Psychologist and Author Dr. Rajendra Barve explained, “Many youngsters find such games attractive and later they start engaging and falls into the trap of developers. Such games are psychological and manipulative in nature. Hence, one should have the self-control to stay out of this. What the today’s youth lack is awareness to forbid such things?”
As per the reports, Momo is spread on several social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube. It uses the artwork called Mother Bird by Link Factory that shows a woman with scary features. However, similar to the Blue Whale Challenge which was overhyped, the Momo Challenge also urges the participants challenging them to communicate with an unknown number. If players refuse to abide, they are threatened with violent images.
Cyber Law expert Punit Basin stated, “The main reason for this problem is administration control over such android apps is quite low. These kinds of app try to get our personal information which is dangerous. We do not have any mobile app regulation control in India. Such kind of apps does psychological manipulation of the people. There should be strict regulation and ban on such kind of apps. There are more possibilities that youngsters who are sensitive and weak psychologically, are more attracted to such games, as we saw a similar case during the Blue Whale, where many gamers committed suicides. Cyber cell needs to control such games.”
Momo is connected to several numbers in Japan, Colombia and Mexico. The local police of Japan and cybercrime authorities have been warning parents about the ‘terrifying’ challenge and how parents need to have a conversation about this absurd types of games with their kids and not fall into their trap. The experts believe that the Momo challenge is a tool for cybercriminals to extract personal data of the victim.
Ethical Hacker Kai Farmer stated, “Basically, this issue should be rectified by the Computer emergency response team (CERT). They should report to Google to block such links and games from the play store. App developers of such games try to get some traffic on the app in order to generate revenue. These games are addictive in nature and identify the tendency of accepting challenges of the gamers. Teens are usually the ones to make the first contact due to the emotions they are experiencing. We need to create a stronger cybersecurity and cyber laws to take stringent action against such games.”
Though, in the recent past, there are various types of challenges that go viral within a fraction of seconds making people go gaga over it. Last year, a game called Pokemon GO had gained a huge amount of attention not only from youngsters but all the age groups. Apart from that, there are several challenges that go trending for no meaningful purpose attracting especially the youths getting them addicted to such challenges. Blue Whale was also one of the games that urged to commit suicide of over 15 teens in India. It is yet unclear about the sources that lead toward such a petrifying end.
Pediatrician Dr. Rajendra Khatal commented, “After the gamers get tempted to play, they also get addicted to such games. Later, they reach that level of suicide after the mental depression. An initial counselling and social awareness need to be given to the youngsters.”
According to the experts, while there are no reports of the challenge affecting anyone in India yet, but social media is an open platform and things don’t really take time to spread there. Nonetheless, the claims made by Google and many other social media platforms all over the world that allegedly keeps a check on every possible inappropriate content but failed to rectify the birth of such games that urge the youngsters to harm themselves.