Nananahimik ako yesterday when I received a message in my amigas chat group.
There was a mom sharing what she went through with her 9 year old suicidal daughter.
At first I was like, wtf?! Her daughter’s the same age as Anika and I cannot imagine Anika being suicidal in such a young age! Naawa ako for the mom. This is definitely a very challenging experience for her. And then nagsink in na sa akin… Napakahirap din talaga i-monitor 24/7 ang mga bata in what they watch and play in their gadgets. Nakakatakot.
And then enter the recent news na there was an 11 year old boy daw who committed suicide by drinking a lot of pills for gout. The suspected reason? Sabi ng mom niya, parang naglalaro daw siya nung mga online suicide challenge games: Blue Whale and Momo Challenge. Here’s the news that I watched.
Putragis. Sinong sira ulong taong gagawa ng games na ganyan?! I hope whoever invented those games will burn in hell. Punyeta talaga. Galit na galit ako yesterday. How can some people be so vile, evil and demonic? Hindi ba sila natatakot kay God?!
I actually posted this blog entry last night. I took it down this morning because may mga bagong information akong nasagap that I didn’t know yesterday. Isa isahin ko na lang mga nalalaman ko here about that app na may suicide challenge.
Dalawa pala yan. Either Momo Challenge or the Blue Whale challenge. You can read in detail what the Momo Challenge is here. I suggest you read it first before you continue on magbasa nitong entry na ito.
Sa pagkakaintindi ko sa lahat ng nabasa ko, the Momo challenge is an online game with “MoMo allegedly targets young children by encouraging them to text a number on WhatsApp, which then sends them instructions to complete a series of increasingly bizarre and dangerous tasks from watching a horror movie to engaging in self-harm to taking their own lives.”
This means, makakalaro ka lang ng momo or blue whale challenge if you give the app your information including your mobile numbers. Through the app ang utusan to do the different kinds of dares. A fellow mom gave a list of some of the challenges that the kids have to do:
Carve a specific phrase on the person’s own hand or arm.
Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and watch a scary video (sent by the curator.)
Make lengthwise cuts on the person’s own arm.
Draw a whale on a piece of paper
Write “yes” on the person’s own leg if ready to be a whale.
Otherwise, they should cut themselves multiple times.
Secret task (written in code.)
Scratch (a message) on the person’s own arm.
Write a status online about being a whale.
Overcome a fear.
Get up at 4:20 and go to the roof.
Carve a whale on the person’s own hand.
Watch scary videos all day.
Listen to music the “curator” sends.
Cut your lip.
Poke the person’s own arm/hand with a needle.
Make yourself hurt or sick.
Go to a roof and stand on the edge.
Stand on a bridge.
Climb a crane.
At this step, the “curator” somehow checks to see if the participant is trustworthy.
Talk with a “whale” on Skype.
Sit down on a roof with legs dangling over the edge.
Another job that is in code.
A secret mission
Meet with a “whale.”
The “curator” assigns a date that the person will die.
Visit a railroad.
Do not talk with anyone all day.
Give an oath/vow about being a whale
These challenges make me sick. Seriously.
Here’s the message of the mom who researched about the MoMo challenge. When I read it, parang naliwanagan ako kaya I wanna share this with you too.
“I did my own research. And searched google and youtube. Based on what i read, momo and bluewhale are on chat. They needed to chat with their victims. And it started on whatsapp. I saw a youtuber tried to chat with a momo. If the momo he chatted with was the true momo, then it could be befriending first their victims, and (according to my readings), try to get to know their victims first by friendly q&a – hobbies, likes and dislikes, fears and happiness, strengths and weaknesses, waking hours, school and other personal details, etc. If it appears through youtube ads, you might see the ad as a harmless ad to click to a seemingly harmless app. Since youtube, fb and google manually approves ad (i manage google ads for work), yt will not approve a potentially harmful ad. So you might not see momo directly through the ad. Based on my readings, you gotta chat with a momo or bluewhale, so the app must have a chat feature like fortnite. Does roblox have chat feature? I also found half a list of the challenges of bluewhale challenge that may not be very different from the momo challenge. Ads are targeted so the ad leading to a momo may not appear in the videos yoi are watching but may appear on what children are watching like gamers’ youtube vids and kid videos.”
My next discovery is that the creepy image that we thought was Momo,
doesn’t have anything to do with the game actually. That image above called the “Mother Bird” is a sculpture made by Keisuke Aisawa of the Link Factory, a Japanese company that makes horror film props and special effects. Matagal na yan. 2016 pa yan dinisplay sa isang gallery in Ginza, Tokyo.
So clear. Walang connection yung image na yan to the game.
However, some vile people used that image to edit kid-friendly videos in Youtube and Youtube kids, and instruct them to hurt themselves. While nanonood ng Peppa Pig ang bata, lalabas yung scary image na yan with a creepy voice telling them to do bad things. And if they didn’t follow or if they tell anyone about it, bad things will happen to them.
I personally was able to watch one Peppa Pig video where lumabas yang image na yan with instructions. Hindi ko lang ma-save and ma-post here. The Peppa Pig video was 5 minutes long. Around, past 2 minutes in the video, lumabas yung image na nakakatakot na yun. It said, “Hi. I’m Momo, your worst nightmare. I am gonna kill you. I will kill you. At night I’ll be in your bed. And in the morning you’ll be dead. You want a surprise? Look in my eyes. I won’t lie. You’re going to die. Slice your leg and you’ll never meet me. Slice your wrists and your parents will never see me. Sweet dreams little one! Beware of me.”
And then the Peppa Pig video resumes.
I read a lot of posts being shared online by Filipino moms who have kids na affected sa mga ganyan. One daughter became suicidal. That’s the one I shared with you earlier. One mom naman saw her daughter’s drawings na puros Momo. When the mom asked her about it, the daughter said “I love you Mama. Ayoko mamatay ka.”
When the kids watch it, they get scared. Yung iba naman deadma.
Apparently also, matagal na may lumalabas na mga Momo na ganyan sa Youtube. It’s scary because matagal na alam ng mga ibang kids samantalang tayo, ngayon lang natin ito nalalaman.
And then, yesterday din, nabasa ko yung mga news na a lot of young girls, aged 10 and above are being kidnapped. And according sa mga nahuhuling suspects, they sell these kidnapped kids for cyber sex. CYBER SEX?!?!
What is the world coming to?!
Diyosko mga bakla. As if hindi enough yung mga problema natin sa buhay. Instead sana we’ll feel secure and asikasuhin na lang paano buhayin ang mga pamilya natin, hindi eh. May mga ganyang ka-praningan pa tayong iintindihin.
Naisip ko nga, swerte na din our parents before. They didn’t have the internet to deal with. Also, gone are the days when adults are kampante to allow kids to play outside with neighbors. Aalis ng bahay ng umaga, uuwi for lunch and siesta and then maglalaro again sa afternoon sa labas ng walang mga bantay. Ganyan ako nung bata. Ngayon, as parents, mas gusto na natin sila na nasa bahay lang. Pagnasa bahay naman, hindi din safe when they use and play their gadgets.
Lekat na panahon ito. Hindi mo na din alam san ka lalagay eh.
Alvin and I talked to Anika yesterday afternoon when she came home from school. Actually, I talked to her na the other day. I told her about those evil online games and that insert video of the Momo figure telling kids to hurt themselves. She cried. Natakot. I feel that it’s just right to tell her about these things even though matakot siya. Awareness is the key. I told her about all the bad things the app will make a person do. Tama lang na informed siya about all these things so that prepared siya if ever ma-encounter niya.
Now, she doesn’t like to use YouTube or youtube kids. Ayaw niya humawak ng cellphone or gadget totally. Kahit TV nga, ayaw na din manood eh. Okay na din for the meantime. Zero screentime talaga siya.
Mas maganda yung naging usapan when Alvin and I talked to her yesterday. Sa school niya pala, hot topic yun among the students so Anika was more interactive yesterday compared to the other day. Here are the things we discussed with Anika.
One, the learnings above all this is that nobody can tell her to hurt herself nor tell her to hurt somebody else. Wala ding tao na pwedeng magsabi sa kanya to do bad things. Not us nor her friends. If kako dumating yung time na pilitin siya ng mga friends niya to do something that she doesn’t want to do or she thinks is wrong, she should say no. True and good friends will not make her do bad things. Hindi ka gugustuhin mapahamak ng tunay na kaibigan, I told her. Also, if she doesn’t feel comfortable doing something, don’t do it even if every one’s doing it too.
ME: Anak, madami pa akong example pag laki mo. Sasabihin ko yun lahat sayo as you grow older..
ALVIN: Ayan tama. Makinig ka diyan sa Nanay mo. Madami talagang examples yan ng mga ginawa niya nung bata pa siya.
Two, OPEN COMMUNICATION is the key. She shouldn’t keep secrets from us. Dun sabi namin naguumpisa mapahamak ang mga bata, when they keep secrets like that. We told her that she can tell us anything. We might get mad at the start but we will try our best to understand her.
Three, she cannot go with anybody except with me, Alvin, Toots, Faye, her grandparents, Paul and Tin. Pagmay kumuha sa kanya, magsisigaw siya. If somebody forces her to go with them, create a scene para may tumulong sa kanya.
Lastly, eventually, she will use the internet, watch videos in youtube and play online games. What will matter is how responsible she should be in using these gadgets. She should always bear in mind what is right or wrong. We trust her to make good decisions because mabait siyang bata.
She was scared. Since the other night when I told her about the online games and what happened to that boy, she never touched her phone. Ayaw na manood ever ng YouTube, even ng TV.
Yesterday, while waiting for her tutor to arrive, we played outside. Tawa siya ng tawa. After dinner, we spent a good hour in the living room telling stories to each other. Dumating na yung massage therapist ko after. While I was being massaged, kwentuhan kami ng kwentuhan pa din. She just wants to do fun stuff with me daw rather than using the phone. Kahit TikTok nga, ayaw na niya eh. Okay naman. For me, this is better compared to before na lagi talaga naka tutok siya sa phone.
Ang ireresolve ko ang is yung takot. Natakot talaga si Anika, walang biro. She told me yesterday that everyone in her class was scared that she didn’t dare go to the bathroom daw to make weewee. The. Whole. Freaking. Day. Leche. Magkaka-UTI pa ito pag hindi natanggal yung takot niya. May kumatok lang sa gate namin, nagkakadarapa pumunta sa akin para yakapin ako sa takot. Hindi din cool eh. I have been telling her that MoMo isn’t real. I will continue to tell her that MoMo is just a Japanese sculpture. Alvin and I have been telling her na wala siya dapat ikatakot because she is informed already. Alam niya na lahat. She can beat that Momo by not being scared of it.
Then after this, I will inculcate in her the right way to use the gadgets. From now on, she can use her gadgets (kung gusto pa niya) pero at most 2 hours a day but only during weekends. She can only watch when I’m with her. Fully monitored. Tedious siya pero wala eh. Iba na ang panahon ngayon. Hindi na ganun ka-lax ang parenting nowadays like during our parents’ time. Nageevolve ang technology so dapat magadjust din ang parenting strategies.
There are some people out there who are saying that this is all a hoax. Na-sesensationalize lang daw. OA daw ang reaction ng mga parents.
Well, for me, wapakels if hoax or not. I don’t care if ayaw nila maniwala that the cause of death of that boy isn’t connected to these suicide games. I don’t care if some kids have seen the videos while the adults daw have never seen them.
What I care about is that buti na-big deal itong issue na ito. Malaking eye opener to parents who do not monitor their kids’ screen time and the things they do and watch online. It is not healthy for kids to use their gadgets for a long period of time. Mga doktor na ang nagsasabi niyan. And madaming masasamang tao out there. It is good that the families now are vigilant and they teach their kids about this. We need to teach the kids how to use the internet the right way. Hindi maganda na hahayaan natin sila nakatutok sa gadgets. They need to be disciplined and be taught of good principles so that regardless totoo nga yan si Momo or not, hindi sila gagawa ng masama sa sarili nila and sa kapwa nila.
And at least now, Anika’s off her gadgets already. I don’t know for how long pero sana semi-permanently na. Alvin asked me ano daw ang irereplace namin sa YouTube and YouTube Kids na nawala sa kanya. Sabi ko wala. Hindi kailangan. She will read books. We will tell stories to each other. She will color with me. She will play outside with my volleyball. I know she will sometimes tell me that she’s bored. So what? I will let her be bored so that her imagination can run free. This is will be a challenge for us too kasi dapat hindi kami mag-give in na ipa-gadgets siya because we might be “too tired” or “too busy” to join her sa mga a trip niyang games or whatever. Pero kaya namin ito. And kaya niyo rin yan.