Okay, so I know I’m always late to the game, but have you heard of Momo? I just heard about her. She’s this freaky girl who supposedly flashes up spontaneously while your kid is watching YouTube Kids and then tells them to go do harmful things to themselves. Yikes!!!!
At first I avoided looking Momo up because apparently she’s super scary-looking and I was scared I’d have nightmares, but the other night my friend texted me in a panic because the kids at school have been talking about Momo and her daughter was all freaked out about it. Oh no, has Zoey heard about it?! So I finally looked it up. And you know what I learned?
Momo is NOT real.
Nope, your kid is not gonna be watching Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol on YouTube Kids and Momo is NOT going to flash on the screen and tell them to go jump out the window. Not gonna happen. But I know how these things get started.
Like when I was a kid there was a rumor that this little girl was riding her tricycle in our area and that she fell off a cliff and died and now her parents hang her bloody dress in the window every night to remember her, so we used to drive by this house all the time looking for the dress. Guess what? We never saw it. What cracks me up is I’m from Dallas where it’s flat as a pancake and I’m pretty sure the highest cliff a kid could fall off is the front step to their house. Yup, rumors make us believe anything.
Anyways, here’s the thing, when I looked up Momo, her picture pretty much made me crap my pants and even though she’s not going to spontaneously flash up on our iPad, Zoey could easily go look her up. She may not be real but her picture would give my kid nightmares from now until she goes to college. So I had to decide what to do.
Do I talk to my daughter about Momo and tell her not to look it up? (Bwhahahaha, the FIRST thing she would do is go look it up!!)
Do I not even mention it and just HOPE she doesn’t hear about it at school and look it up?
Here’s what I decided. I decided to ask my friend with an older daughter what to do. People who have older kids are like the smartest F’ing people on this planet.
ME: Have you heard of Momo?
SMART MOM: Ugghhh, yes. My daughter heard about it and looked it up and THEN she told me about it. I was like we’ve talked about this. When you hear about something scary on the Internet, you come to us first BEFORE you look anything up.
ME: Ahhhhh, I totally need to have that conversation with my kids.
So last night I’m sitting in our bedroom when Zoey comes in and I tell her to sit down.
ME: Hey Zoey, I want to make sure you know something.
ME: If you ever hear about something scary, please do NOT go look it up on the Internet. Come talk to us first.
ZOEY: Mom, I know that. The Internet is BAD.
ME: It’s not bad. It’s great. It just has some bad stuff on it.
The word Momo never came up in our conversation, and I realized something. Momo is NOT real, but do you know what is? Bad stuff on the Internet. Instead of telling my kids not to do something specific, I need to give them the general tools to deal with shit like this. Because today it’s Momo, and yesterday it was kids eating laundry pods, and tomorrow it’ll be something else that’s dangerous that I won’t hear about until months after it’s gone viral.
This Internet stuff wasn’t around when I was a kid so I don’t know WTF I’m doing, but I’m learning. I CAN’T stop my kid from seeing stuff there, and I CAN’T constantly monitor what she’s looking at, but I CAN teach her what to do BEFORE she sees it. Or WHEN she sees it. Because it’s bound to happen.
Now do you want to see a picture of Momo? You’re welcome to go look it up because I’m not gonna be the parent who spreads crap like that around. Crap that’s just crap but that can still hurt our kids.
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