There’s a lot of commotion about the dreaded Momo Challenge. After the Bluewhale Challenge, that forced Saudi Arabian Government to ban 47 video games, Momo is taking over. The Challenge already seems to have claimed the life of a 12 year old girl in Argentina. And, now, it has spread worldwide, with it’s recent launch in India that has everyone in fear. Misinformation on Momo challenge has lead to several myths springing up. The first one many ask me is, “Can Momo Challenge hack phones with a WhatsApp message?” I am here to talk about Momo myths and a few steps for parents to protect their children from the Challenge.
How does Momo Challenge work?
Before I talk about the myths, I’d like to explain how it works. I know you have already read about it everywhere, but here’s a simpler explanation. Momo Challenge plans to take innocent lives by using two human features or qualities:-
The Challenge uses the image of a horror work called “Mother Bird.” When someone esp. children see that, it instills both a sense of horror and curiosity. In some, curiosity triumphs over the horror. And, they just give it a try. Slowly, the experienced sadistic handlers or the criminals spreading the game rope these victims into their web. At some point, when the player or victim starts boycotting, that’s when they use the element of fear. This is when they threaten to hack your accounts, or show you gruesome pictures scaring the victims more and more.
That was a very simple explanation of how the challenge works. This would already give an idea to parents about what they are supposed to do.
Can Momo Challenge hack phones with a WhatsApp message?
A big ‘NO’! I wish I could make it a much bigger No, but it would break my SEO strategy :P! Remember, no one can hack your phone with a simple WhatsApp message unless, maybe you are using a modded version of WhatsApp. It’s a no-brainer. WhatsApp is a messaging application with End to End encryption and no, a simple text or an image message can’t hack your phone.
But, if you ever receive a link from an unknown sender, DO NOT click! This might look like a legit Google (or another reliable source’s) link, but this in turn might reveal your location (approximate or exact) to the sender. They might use this to threaten you, but remember these are blank threats and they can’t touch you.
Momo Challenge Myths: Truth or Hoax
It’s Truth or Hoax time. Within a few weeks of it’s entry in India, here are a few Momo Challenge myths and the truth behind them:-
1. Disable Auto Download to prevent Momo Challenge from hacking you
HOAX! As already said, a text or an image message on WhatsApp can’t hack you. But, still disabling Auto Download is a good option. Why you ask? It’s simple. I explained how the challenge works. So, with Auto Download on, images from Momo handlers are automatically saved on your phone. This might draw the curiosity of a young kid or a teenager who uses your phone. Apart from that, disabling Auto Download might save you some data if you are on a limited plan ;).
2. Momo can hack your Bank Account
HOAX! Momo can’t even hack your phone, your bank account most probably has a 256-Bit Encryption which is more difficult to hack. These are just tactics used by criminals to scare and force you to play the game, only to commit suicide.
3. You can’t block Momo on WhatsApp
HOAX! One of the first messages from Momo says, “You can’t block me!” That’s cute, Momo! Press the 3 vertical dots on the chat window’s right top, press More and then press Block. See for yourself. Some people just panic after seeing the message that they just believe it and don’t even try to block.
4. If you don’t play Momo, they could attack your loved ones
HOAX! The guys behind these challenges are just sadistic people infront of digital screens. They don’t have the power to just come looking for you or your loved ones. With social media, it’s very easy to get a few pictures of you and your family. They might use these pictures to threaten you. But, don’t forget, that’s the best they can do, give you blank threats. They don’t have any power in real life.
A note for Parents about Momo Challenge
I had a bicycle when I was 10 year old. Times have changed. Today, 10 year olds have smartphones. So, if parents think it’s their responsibility to gift the best smartphone to their children, it’s also their responsibility to make sure their children are using it properly. Please give this article a read from top to bottom. If your children have phones; use yours; or have Social Media Accounts, educate them about the myths and Momo Challenge in general. Remember, just 20 minutes of your time could save your child’s life.
The Law agencies and parents, both have a major role to play to curb such anti-social elements. Indians seem to be receiving WhatsApp messages from Japanese, Mexican and Colombian numbers. So, if you receive a strange message from an unknown number, it might be best to block them and report them to WhatsApp.