Over the past couple of weeks, parents up and down the UK have been losing their collective shit over a Meme that has begun appearing on the Internet. This Meme isn’t (for once) restricted to Social Media, and it’s not aimed at the older denizens of the Internet either. This one is aimed squarely at the younger inhabitants.
The Momo Meme has been floating around for a while, but seemingly it has now reached a critical mass where it has mixed with an alleged game stemming from the Far Eastern parts of Europe. The game goes something like:
Person A gives daily instructions for tasks to be completed by Person B
At the end of the month, the final task involves Suicide or serious Self Harm
That’s pretty much it.
Somehow, this image became linked to this idea and the original “game” was reduced down to scare tactics that if you didn’t complete (what would ordinarily be the final task) it the Momo would come and get you or a close family member. OK, on the face of it, this is the same shit I was dealing with when I was at junior school 40 years ago, except back then there was no internet and the sick twats back then said that someone had phoned the school office and told them my Mum had been run over. Yeah, it panicked me, and I felt like shit for a long time after.
The problem with the Momo meme is that it is a load of bullshit. It isn’t happening. It’s a game of Chinese Whispers that has spread through Social Media and the Playground. Kids have gotten the idea of this image and exploited it towards younger and weaker members of the playground. Of course, the kids are scared, and it gets dragged online, and people start to panic and the media get involved and the next thing you know there is an epidemic of sick twisted goobers out to get your kids on Fortnite and in Peppa Pig videos; None of which actually happened on a large scale (if at all).
Now, I know who is actually to blame for all this.
You aren’t going to like my answer.
You’re really not.
It’s the parents.
Yep good old Mum and Dad are allowing this type of thing to gain traction.
If parents took half the time to check what access to which channels their kids have that they do about crying foul after the fact, then I think you’d find that there wouldn’t be an issue to start with.
A couple of facts for you all
- Both Facebook and YouTube state in their Terms of Service that you must be 13 years old to have an account on their services. Now, generally, if you must be 13 to have an account, that means you have to be 13 to USE that service.
When 5-Year-old Tommy comes running to Mummy and says he has seen something scary on YouTube, then excuse my French, but It’s all your fucking fault. It’s the Internet (more of that in a minute)
- YouTube and Facebook don’t actively police the age limits on their platforms. Just because this is the case, doesn’t mean that they are the ones at fault. As of December 31st 2018, there were 2.32 Billion Monthly Active Users (). In numbers that looks like this – 2,320,000,000 – lots of zeros there. Every four months that number is generally going up. Facebook has reported that there are five new sign-ups to the service per second.
These figures are astounding. I don’t claim to be a Facebook champion, I think they should be doing a lot more to make the Internet safer for everyone, not just the small, tiny and vulnerable, but everyone. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, this applies to everyone who can help; but if you are raking in Billions of dollars/pounds in profit each year then your power and responsibility edges up a notch or ten.I mentioned the Internet (in general earlier), and I feel I need to clarify a point or two.
I mentioned the Internet (in general earlier), and I feel I need to clarify a point or two.
If anyone is under any illusions about the Internet being a place that ideas flow freely and you can make the world a better place, then please, wake up. That is what the Internet SHOULD be; however, as with all things, Humans got involved and screwed things up. Yep, it’s 2019, and the assholes have taken over Utopia. Twenty years ago, there were assholes online, but you pretty much had to go looking for them as there wasn’t a place where they could all congregate and up the assholedom to a level not seen since Hitler invaded Poland.
Nostalgia Aint What It Used To Be.
In 2019 people now have the mentality that the Internet is the place for life to exist; they think that it is an extension of reality. For me, it’s not an extension; it’s an addition, a tool to be used to spread ideas. Unfortunately, assholes have ideas (most of them were proved to be rather dickish almost 80 years ago, but hey, some people dig nostalgia.)
We should be adopting the Internet to bend to our will, to use the most powerful tool since the printing press for good. There should be one common goal for the Internet, and that is to make sure Star Trek isn’t just sci-fi, but a reality. Star Trek you ask? You just turned your head slightly to the right and wondered if I had lost my mind. In start Trek, there is no war on Earth; everyone has everything they need, no need for money or possessions unless you want them. Everyone has everything they need. If we as humanity could accept that that is a noble goal to work towards, I believe that in 20 years we’ll be travelling in the stars and who knows what comes next.
For today though, adults need to take a strong lead and lead children into the safe areas of the internet; in other words, keep the little darlings off of it until they can prove they would use this huge massive tool for good and not troll each-others YouTube accounts. The internet is no place for a child. Parents are getting their crotchless knickers in a bunch over kids being exposed to MoMo. Here is an idea; parents, if there is something online that you don’t want the kids to see, then don’t use a mostly unregulated Internet to entertain your kids. Take them out and play in the garden; if that doesn’t float your boat, put them in front of Netflix or CBBC. Yeah, I understand that that is not going to be popular with anyone (except me that is).
It doesn’t matter how many initiatives are put in place to stop kids from seeing the stuff they shouldn’t, they will find a way if they want to. It is just a plain and simple fact that kids can, and will, run circles around adults when it comes to technology. When these kids go to school, they are taught from a young age how to use a computer, and then they talk to each other about how to exploit this new knowledge to get what they want. So the information spreads and before you know it, they all know how to access the shit you tried to block and make their world that much safer. Do I have an answer to this catch 22 situation? If I did, I wouldn’t be sat here typing this; I would be incredibly rich and sitting somewhere rather more plush than my old battered office chair.
This situation needs to be answered by minds greater than mine, and it needs to be talked about in real terms. We expect our kids to have the tools to get on in this 21st Century world. ICT literacy is almost number 1 on any list of requisite skills needed to progress in life, but by giving the skills to kids so young, they have far too much time to develop these skills to activities that they don’t need at a young age.
Questions Questions Questions
I wish I knew how to solve a problem that society has created for itself. I don’t blame the kids; they are doing what every generation of kids has done… rebelling against the rules and set their own standards. It is just one more notch on the door frame of life showing that kids are growing and developing into their own.
So, that is my take on this Momo shit and why it took hold so hard and fast. At the time of publishing this post (over a week after it all blew up) Momo has, by and large, disappeared as a threat to society and is now just a meme that is getting old very quick.
What is your take? Do you think kids are introduced to the Internet to soon or should we be teaching the kids how to use it more responsibly from a younger age? Let me know what you think in the comments? Thanks for reading.