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Clark County schools, YouTube react to 'Momo Challenge' concerns

Posted at 11:39 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 19:23:38-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UPDATE FEB. 28: As reports circulated Feb. 27 about the alleged deadly Momo Challenge that encourages children to harm themselves, YouTube issued a response saying no videos of the sort had been published recently on its platform.

"We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge: We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies," YouTube said in a tweet. "If you see videos including harmful or dangerous challenges on YouTube, we encourage you to flag them to us immediately. These challenges are clearly against our Community Guidelines."

READ RESPONSE FROM YOUTUBE

The Clark County School District also released a statement regarding the Momo Challenge:

"There have been recent national news stories about a social media trend known as the Momo Challenge. The challenges instruct children to participate in self-harm behaviors.

All district psychologists, counselors, social workers, and school nurses are trained regarding self-harm and suicide intervention protocols so that we can immediately assist any student in crisis.

CCSD utilizes the program 'Signs of Suicide' as part of the eighth and ninth grade Health curriculum to educate students.

Please monitor your children's use of social media and contact your child's school with concerns or requests for assistance.

Additionally, students are able to utilize Safe Voice Nevada, an anonymous reporting system used to report threats to the safety or well-being of students. The phone number for Safe Voice is (833) 216-SAFE."

RELATED: Momo Challenge: YouTube responds, says its seen no recent videos promoting alleged viral challenge

ORIGINAL STORY
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - The latest trend on social media and online called the "Momo Challenge" has parents concerned as it directs children to take their own life.

Las Vegas father, Andrew Baquerizo, tries to keep his daughter Hailey occupied and away from tablets and TV.

"All it takes is one child’s underdeveloped mind to be easily influenced by one video," Baquerizo said.

He also says that's why he reached out to 13 Action News and other parents about this latest "challenge."

RELATED: Parents warn about potentially deadly 'Momo Challenge' online

Fact-checking site Snopes report the "Momo Challenge" has been around since last year.

Momo is a Japanese statue with a terrifying face on a bird's body, and the challenge is to meet Momo by following instructions which can include harming yourself or other people.

But Baquerizo said it's taken on a new life targeting new and younger children with disturbing videos using popular children's characters.

“The one I looked at last night was "Peppa Pig" stabbing her father, with a knife,” Baquerizo said.

Psychologists like Dr. Ralph Wald agree that this type of online content poses challenges for parents.

RELATED: Momo Challenge: YouTube responds, says its seen no recent videos promoting alleged viral challenge

"The way you want to have it is talking about how there are people out there in the world who might try to convince you to do bad things - might try to convince you to do things that you don't want to do,” Dr. Wald said.

But there is a scarcity of actual challenge videos.

"I haven’t seen any videos of the old Momo challenge," he said. “I have seen pictures."

That has led some tech experts to wonder if it’s a hoax or overblown merely because people are sharing screenshots, but Baquerizo disagrees.

“This is real, and this is happening, “he said. “And children I’m pretty sure throughout the country, and the world is seeing it and being affected by it."